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 Extended Scope Physiotherapists (ESP’s) who are physiotherapists working at a high level of expertise and have extended their practice and skills in musculoskeletal medicine. ESP’s provide a high degree of skill in assessing patients and have advanced clinical reasoning skills.
Typically, a range of investigations can be ordered to help with the diagnosis and management of a patient. These investigations can include Blood tests, X-rays, MRI scans, Ultrasound scans and some other selected tests. The clinicians are able to act on the findings of these tests and will invariably have close working relationships with Radiology and other Secondary Care colleagues.
Within the MCATS clinics a range of peripheral joint injections can also be administered as a first line treatment option. This provides an additional level of access to this modality of treatment without the need to make a referral into secondary care.
ESP’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.
Patients who are referred to Secondary Care are generally worked up so that the consultants are better able to work through the options with the patient at the Initial Outpatients appointment.
Patients tend to have fewer follow-up appointments and significantly higher conversion rates to surgery if they have attended an MCATS service before being seen in Secondary Care.
Patients and GP’s have demonstrated high levels of satisfaction with MCATS services across all variables measured.