Your appointment

Here you will find full details of the referral process and how you receive treatment from our service.



Referrals are made to Dorset MSK by GPs, nurse practitoners, first-contact practitioners and NHS physiotherapists. If you feel that you need a referral to your service, please discuss this with one of the healthcare professionals listed above.

Preparing for your appointment

To prepare for your appointment, the following 10 helpful points can make assessment and examination easier.

  1. Try to have a rough idea of when and how the problem started.
  2. How has the problem progressed?
  3. Make a short note of what difficulties you are having on a day-to-day basis, due to the problem.
  4. Is the problem worsening? Staying the same? Or has it improved a little over time?
  5. What movements/actions aggravate the problem - and what seems to ease it?
  6. Make sure that the area of your body can be examined. i.e. wearing shorts if a knee problem, can help. The area in question needs to be looked at properly.
  7. If you have been given any devices or supports which relate to your problem, it's best to bring these along so we can see them. (For example, if you have been given orthotics or foot supports for your arches in your feet, it would be good to see if these are having the desired effect).
  8. If you have tried any other treatment, please tel us, especially if anything has helped at all. If you had any physiotherapy, what did it entail? What exercises were you given?
  9. Arrange to be slightly early for your appointment as most patients are seen without any delay.
  10. Make a note of any operations, medical problems and medications you take.

During Your appointment

Appointments last beetween 15-45 minutes. 

A full history will be taken and detailed examination will be carried out by a practitioner. Any concerns you may have can be addressed and discussed. Always feel free to ask for clarification if you have not understood what has been said.

If necessary, you will be referred for diagnostic tests e.g. MRI scan, X-ray, blood tests.

Once a diagnosis has been made, the practitioner will advise you on management options and, where indicated, will refer you to another healthcare professional for further treatment. This may include podiatry, physiotherapy, orthotics, Dorset Community Pain Service and orthopedic surgery.


Dorset Musculoskeletal Service