wcdhb banner
News and Media Releases

Media Releases Archive

Introducing This Page

This section contains media releases released a little while ago. Please note that due to the long time when some of these were released images have been removed and some links might no longer work.

October 17, 2013

Musculoskeletal service now available on West Coast

Canterbury’s approach to providing specialist musculoskeletal services to patients with conditions that are debilitating, but not to the extent they require surgery, has had such good results the programme is being rolled out on the West Coast.

Service Manager Orthopaedic Department at Christchurch Hospital, David Brydon, says the community-based musculoskeletal service was developed in Canterbury in response to increasing non-urgent patient loads that threatened to overwhelm orthopaedic services at Christchurch Hospital.

Clinicians recognised a need for an intermediate service that would cater specifically to non-surgical musculoskeletal patients and free up orthopaedic surgeons.

Musculoskeletal specialist Dr Ian Holding then developed a pathway - known as the Orthopaedic Referral Gateway - to triage referrals to the Orthopaedic Department.

Patients are assessed at specialist clinics using rapid access diagnostics such as MRIs and ultrasounds. Depending on the diagnosis, they will either be given treatment advice, referred to secondary care orthopaedic outpatient services such as physiotherapy or occupational therapy, or to a hospital-based service.

“These clinics have allowed people to be seen who would previously not have been accepted for referral and have reduced the number of people being referred for hospital treatment they did not need,” says Dr Holding.

David Brydon says with pressure increasing on West Coast orthopaedic services, especially as the population ages, it made sense to expand the Canterbury model to the Coast.

The transalpine orthopaedic service has enabled a common triaging process to be established for all orthopaedic assessment referrals. This has allowed a set of West Coast patients to be selected for a monthly musculoskeletal clinic that operates at Grey Base Hospital. Those not serious enough to meet the threshold to be seen in the public health system will, where appropriate, be referred to a musculoskeletal physician.

“Using a different pathway to manage these patients who are at the low end of clinical prioritisation, means we can keep surgeon time for specialist surgical activities and at the same time provide good and appropriate support to patients and the GP community,” says David.


For further information please contact:

Karalyn van Deursen

Strategic Communications Manager

t: (03) 364 4103

m: 027 531-4796

Canterbury & West Coast District Health Boards

Back to the Media Releases Archive