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What is Physiotherapy?

The Chartered Society of Physiotherapists says "Physiotherapy helps restore movement and function to as near normal as possible when someone is affected by injury, illness or by development or other disability.

Physiotherapy is a science-based profession that takes a 'whole person' approach to health and wellbeing, which includes the patient's general lifestyle. At the core is the patient's involvement in their own care, through education, awareness, empowerment and participation in their treatment.

What Physiotherapists do

Physiotherapists help maintain health for people of all ages by teaching patients to manage pain and prevent disease.

The Trust offers a range of physiotherapy services, such as ward physiotherapy delivered from within the Community Hospitals, that aims to enable patients to regain, maintain or improve their functional independence or learn to adapt to sudden or progressive disability. Patients will also be referred on to the appropriate service, as necessary, on discharge from the hospital.

Community physiotherapy can be accessed via the Zone Health and Social Care Co-ordinators (HSCCs). Urgent referrals are seen as a priority. Non-urgent referrals are prioritised by clinical need and referral date.

The service is provided by postgraduate Physiotherapists who have gained a range of experience in different clinical settings, before taking up their community posts. They undertake a continuous programme of training and development to ensure their practice is current and evidence based. They are supported in their work by Physiotherapy Assistants and generic Support Workers in Intermediate Care (SWICs).

Some conditions Physiotherapists treat:

The Community Physiotherapy Service

The Community Physiotherapy Service forms part of the Intermediate Care multi-disciplinary team.

The service provides Physiotherapy assessment, treatment and advice for people who are either unable to access the Hospital Physiotherapy Outpatient service, or for whom input at home is felt to be more appropriate. The service also offers advice and support to the client's family and carers where support managing the client's needs is required.

The service offers an open referral system. Urgent referrals are seen as a priority. Non-urgent referrals are prioritised by clinical need and referral date.

In addition to the 1:1 input provided in the community setting, Community Physiotherapy also provides input to multi-disciplinary falls prevention clinics, falls prevention exercise groups and an amputee group delivering specialist rehabilitation and gait re-education for patients following a lower limb amputation.

Areas covered by the Community service:

  • Brixham
  • Paignton
  • Torquay
  • Newton Abbot
  • Totnes
  • Dartmouth
  • Ashburton
  • Dawlish
  • Teignmouth
  • Bovey Tracey

Community physio leaflet

Ward Physiotherapy

Ward Physiotherapists deliver physiotherapy assessment, treatment and advice to patients. They also liaise with and advise carers and the ward multi-disciplinary team.

Their aim is to enable patients to regain, maintain or improve their functional independence, or learn to adapt to sudden or progressive disability. They will also refer on to the appropriate service as necessary on discharge from the hospital or arrange specialist physiotherapy assessment where appropriate.

Hospitals with ward physiotherapy

  • Brixham
  • Paignton
  • Teignmouth
  • Dawlish
  • Newton Abbot
  • Dartmouth
  • Totnes
  • Ashburton
  • Bovey Tracey

Musculoskeletal Physiotherapy Outpatient Service

Outpatient physiotherapy clinics see mainly musculoskeletal problems, these are symptoms arising from the soft tissues (muscles), joints and bones. The physiotherapists provide bio-mechanical assessment, diagnosis, advice/information and treatment planning. Therapeutic modalities include: exercise based programmes, mobilisation / manipulation techniques, acupuncture and articular joint injections.


Self-referral is when you, the patient, contact the Physiotherapy department directly without visiting or consulting your GP or hospital first. View statistics showing the increasing percentage of self-referrals.

Before self referral you should discuss with your GP first if you have any of the following, as they will need a specialist referral: Neurological problems such as Parkinson's Disease, Stroke, Multiple Sclerosis, Gynaecological problems or continence issues, Children's developmental problems such as Cerebral Palsy.

Appointment Booking Line - Torquay, Paignton and Brixham

To make an appointment ring the booking line, open between 8.30am and 12.00pm Monday to Friday. Appointments will be given up to 3 working days ahead.

  • 0300 456 9987

For more information about booking click links below:

Appointment Booking Line - Totnes, Dartmouth, Teignmouth, Dawlish, Ashburton, Bovey Tracey, Newton Abbot

To make an appointment ring the booking line which is open between 8.30am and 12.00pm Monday to Friday. Appointments will be given up to 3 working days ahead.

  • 01626 883765

Neurological Physiotherapy

This service provides physiotherapy for people with neurological conditions such as Multiple Sclerosis, Stroke or Spinal Cord injury.

There is access to specialist assessment and advice, and spells of more intensive rehabilitation. The Physiotherapists work alongside occupational therapists, speech therapists and rehabilitation support workers and will deliver care at home or in outpatient departments. The service includes an element of 'Early supported discharge' for people with stroke, enabling them to return home faster with more intensive support.

People are able to self-refer back when further assessment is required.

Useful Links:

The Chartered Society of Physiotherapy website also has useful information around general health, keeping healthy at work, ageing well, common conditions and simple exercises. All of which are available to download for free at

If you are interested more in improving your general fitness and would like to know what classes, sports clubs and gyms are available to you in the area, take a look at the Healthy Lifestyles website. The team are be more than happy to help and support you with this. Or simply call 0300 456 1006.

If you have a question purely around equipment such as outdoor mobility aids / footwear / small aids to help you around the house / chairs or would like to look at alternatives to aids you already have please visit the Community Equipment website. Alternatively find a list below of all the local equipment retailers who are more than happy to help.