Intended for healthcare professionals

Research Article

Open access to orthopaedic appliances for general practitioners.

Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1987; 294 doi: (Published 21 February 1987) Cite this as: Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1987;294:485
  1. S Payne,
  2. R S Ramaiah,
  3. D T Jones


    A clinic to which general practitioners can refer patients for some types of orthopaedic appliances was opened in North Clwyd in 1983. During 1985, 956 patients were referred by 82 general practitioners; 860 patients received an appliance, and the average waiting time was less than five weeks. Most referrals were for soft collars (44%), lumbar sacral supports (30%), and dorsilumbar supports (7%). Thirty eight patients failed to attend, 54 declined an appliance, and four referrals were considered to be inappropriate. A few patients were subsequently referred to consultant outpatient clinics, 22 for physiotherapy and 34 were referred simultaneously to the open access clinic. The referral rates for general practitioners with access to community hospitals were low. Such an arrangement merits wider consideration.