Musicians across the UK are being given fast and free access to physiotherapy treatment, via their professional body, the Incorporated Society of Musicians (ISM) and the ISM Members’ Fund.
The ISM’s sister charity the ISM Members’ Fund has embarked on a pilot project with award winning physiotherapy provider Physio Med after research amongst its 10,000 members revealed that musculoskeletal (MSK) injuries and conditions are one of the three biggest issues facing professional musicians. The majority of ISM members work on a freelance basis, so anything that prevents them from working can have a significant impact on their lives.
The organisation – which represents anyone earning a living from music, including performers, composers, songwriters, music teachers and sound engineers – supports its members primarily with legal services, insurances, professional development, campaigns and more. The ISM Members’ Fund has supported its members and their dependents in times of need since 1917. As part of this support the ISM Members’ Fund is now moving towards providing specific specialist services which will help musicians remain fit and healthy while working in the sector.
In a survey, members reported that mental health, MSK conditions and hearing impairment were the three biggest medical challenges they faced that prevented them from working. The ISM Members’ Fund has already introduced a counselling service and is now offering access to Physio Med’s blended service, to enable members who have suffered an MSK injury to access its fast-track physiotherapy provision.
Access to physiotherapy via GP referral currently stands at more than 14 weeks, which can result in injuries and conditions becoming chronic. ISM members will now be able to access Physio Med’s innovative, and award winning, PAL (Physiotherapy Advice Line) service, which provides a blended approach of fast-track telephone triage, remote multimedia self-management and face-to-face treatment and advice.
Musicians referred to Physio Med via ISM will receive a call back within four hours to ensure they are appropriate to access the service. An initial telephone assessment with a Senior Chartered Physiotherapist then takes place within a maximum of 72 hours and the member receives either a tailored exercise programme to enable them to self-manage their condition or is referred for up to three face-to-face treatments at a local clinic of their choice within Physio Med’s approved UK-wide network of physiotherapy clinics.
Those who self-manage receive a review with a physiotherapist after ten working days to assess their progress.
Deborah Annetts, Chief Executive of the Incorporated Society of Musicians, said: “Responding to the ever-changing nature and needs of the music sector is of paramount importance to the ISM, and over the past year, the ISM Members’ Fund, the ISM’s sister charity, has developed and expanded the range of specialist support we offer to members for their health and wellbeing.
The freelance and self-employed nature of musicians means that suffering an injury or MSK condition which prevents their ability to work can have a devastating impact on their wellbeing. Providing fast access to physiotherapy to help them get back on their feet is vital, which is why we are pleased to launch our new physiotherapy service with Physio Med. This is first time this kind of innovative service has been offered on this scale in the music sector and we hope it is transformative for our members suffering from any kind of injury or MSK condition.”
Phil Clayton, Managing Director of Physio Med, said: “MSK injuries can happen to anyone and musicians are no different. Any job which involves sitting in the same position for a length of time or holding something – such as an instrument – in a particular position can be a challenge physically so we are looking forward to providing practical support to ISM’s members.”