Health promotion in physiotherapy services using NHS health and diabetes checks

Rawlinson, Gillian (2019) Health promotion in physiotherapy services using NHS health and diabetes checks. British Journal of Healthcare Management, 25 (1). pp. 22-31. ISSN 1358-0574

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Several public health initiatives have been launched in England including NHS Health Checks and the National Diabetes Prevention programme; however, uptake has been suboptimal. Musculoskeletal problems are a large health burden and there are increasing links identified between musculoskeletal disorders and metabolic and cardiovascular disorders, which are influenced by lifestyle factors. Physiotherapists have a key role to play in public health and are an untapped resource.


An enhanced health promotion service, using support staff, was implemented into a physiotherapy-led musculoskeletal service including the provision of NHS Health Checks and diabetes checks. Evaluation included descriptive statistical analysis, documentary analysis and qualitative review.


In total, 1550 health assessments were completed with 43% eligible for a HbA1c test and 17% were eligible for an NHS Health Check. Service evaluation feedback from patients and GPs was wholly positive and social prescribing increased.


This service describes a successful model for embedding NHS Health Checks and diabetes checks into a musculoskeletal service, providing opportunistic health promotion and behaviour change interventions and reducing the duplication of different public health initiatives. This service uses an untapped allied health professional public health workforce to support an identification of disease, behaviour change, self-care and social prescribing within the holistic management of musculoskeletal conditions.

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