Plymouth Hospitals NHS Trust Self –Referral to Musculoskeletal Physiotherapy Service

What is self-referral?

This is the new way for patients to access our physiotherapy service.  The aim of the new system is to enable patients to activate a referral of treatment without having to visit your GP.  Self-referral schemes around the country have shown encouraging benefits to both patients and local health communities. Patients can be seen quicker preventing chronic issues and reducing the need for prescriptions and expensive diagnostic tests. It will also reduce the GP musculoskeletal workload, freeing up appointment slots in their busy clinics. Patient satisfaction with self-referral is high as it encourages engagement and allows patients to state exactly what their symptoms are and how it affects them.

What conditions / injuries do we treat?

Musculoskeletal problems such as neck pain, back pain, muscle strains, ligament strains and arthritis are appropriate for this service.  Unfortunately self-referral is not open to patients with neurological conditions such as Multiple sclerosis, Parkinsons, Stroke and respiratory conditions.  For treatment of these conditions you would have to be referred by your GP in the normal way and to the appropriate Physiotherapy service.

Can I refer for multiple problems?

We request that you refer for just one condition per referral.  This is to keep waiting times down and improve the quality of your care.

Once a physiotherapist has completed care for this condition you may then refer again for something else if necessary.

How do I make the referral?

It is important that you do not self-refer without first consulting your GP if you have any of the following conditions – unexplained weight loss, unexplained bladder or bowel problems, history of cancer, night pain, fever or night sweats, unsteady on feet and pins & needles/numbness in both arms or in both legs.

If you wish to complete and send a self-referral form electronically please visit the Physiotherapy website:

You can also pick-up a paper copy from your GP surgery.

What will happen then?

Referrals will be assessed by our physiotherapy team to ensure all relevant parts of the forms have been completed and we will clinical categorise the referral to identify urgent cases vs routine. We will also filter out any inappropriate clinical referrals and the individuals will be informed by letter explaining our reasoning for the decision and will be encouraged to seek medical opinion from their GP’s if this is required.

It is necessary to understand that Self-Referral is not a fast track access to the Physiotherapy service, these referrals will not receive preferential attention and will be categorised on the same basis as the current referrals from GP’s and other sources, but this self-referral route will save you time if you have to wait for GP appointment to then be referred to our service.


See various YouTube videos from Derriford Physio Department