From 10 October 2022, patients who use the Musculoskeletal Clinical Assessment and Triage Service (MSKCATS) will be referred by contacting their GP practice rather than self-referring.
MSKCATS is available for patients aged 16 and over with any muscle or joint problem who have a Widnes or Runcorn GP.
The change in referral process is required as current patient demand is significantly higher than the services commissioned capacity which has led to increased waiting times. The referral process change will allow MSKCATS and GP practices to share delivery of appointments for patients with MSK conditions.
Cheshire and Merseyside Integrated Care Board are working with Halton Health partners to identify opportunities to increase capacity to meet the high demand to MSK services in in the future.
When you contact your GP practice regarding an MSK issue, you may be asked some questions to help them determine whether your needs will be best met by the MSKCATS service or the GP practice. If it is determined that you will need an appointment with the MSKCATS the GP practice will book a slot for you to speak to the MSKCATS administrator, who will call you at an allocated time to begin the appointment booking process.
Patients will not experience any change to the MSKCATS service once referred into it. You will access the same highly trained, specialist physiotherapists who have worked in the service for many years who will offer an expert assessment and patient-centred care.
From 10 October the phone number for the service will no longer be in use and a recorded message will advise you to contact your GP practice.
You can find out more about the service on Warrington and Halton Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust’s MSKCATS web page.