Intended for healthcare professionals

Views & Reviews Personal View

Self referral to physiotherapy and other services would empower patients and doctors

BMJ 2016; 352 doi: (Published 05 January 2016) Cite this as: BMJ 2016;352:h6977
  1. Sara Riggare, Health Informatics Centre, Department of Learning, Informatics, Management, and Ethics, Karolinska Institute, S-171 77 Stockholm, Sweden
  1. sara.riggare{at}

We should make direct access easy when the benefits outweigh the risks

Healthcare systems worldwide face unprecedented challenges over the coming years as populations grow older and sicker. There is only one sustainable solution: more active patients.

Current calls for patients to have direct access to physiotherapists and to other allied health professionals such as radiographers in the NHS, without a referral from a GP, have the potential to lead to improvements for a lot of patients. As a patient with Parkinson’s disease I strongly support the idea of easier access to physiotherapists, because it’s well established that physiotherapy is essential for our wellbeing.1 With the right help we can preserve our stamina, agility, and …

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