Why have I been referred to an MCAT service?


MCATS stands for Musculoskeletal Clinical Assessment and Treatment Service. It is provided as part of an overall Musculoskeletal Pathway and effectively screens patients so they can be seen by the right clinician/service at the right time.

MCATS services are led by Advanced Practice Physiotherapists (APP’s) who are physiotherapists working at a high level of expertise and have extended their practice and skills in musculoskeletal medicine. APPs provide a high degree of skill in assessing patients and have advanced clinical reasoning skills.

APP’s have a broad knowledge of both the conservative and surgical options that may benefit a patient in the management of their condition. This enables them to have a wide-ranging discussion with the patient to help inform and advise them of the available options, most appropriate next step in their treatment, and likely outcomes.

Most Secondary Care services such as Orthopaedics, Rheumatology, and others, require Physiotherapy assessment and investigations like Blood tests, X-rays, MRI scans, Ultrasound scans before accepting referrals. Our APP’s can request the appropriate investigations where necessary and act on the findings of these to ensure that patients are seen by the right specialist/ Secondary Care service.

Within the MCATS clinics a range of peripheral joint injections can also be administered as a first line treatment option. They can also complete ultrasound scans for common peripheral joint injuries. This provides an additional level of access to these modalities of treatment without the need to make a referral into secondary care.

Patients who are referred to Secondary Care with appropriate investigations can work through the options with the Consultants at the Initial Outpatients appointment. Patients will tend to have less follow-up appointments and significantly higher conversion rates to surgery if they have attended an MCATS service before being seen in Secondary Care.

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