Adult Musculoskeletal Physiotherapy and Hand Therapy Service

If you live in Cheltenham or Gloucester

You can self-refer to Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (GHFT) adult physiotherapy service if you are registered with a GP in Cheltenham or Gloucester. To do this, click on the blue button to the right.

Self-referral information

This service is for patients who are registered with a Gloucestershire GP only.

Please read the information below before filling in a self-referral form. We are unable to accept referrals which do not fulfil our criteria, and this will delay your treatment.

  • This service provides treatment for muscular and joint problems. We also provide a specialist service for hand therapy and pelvic health treatment.
  • This is an adult service for people over the age of 16 only, with the exception of hand patients, who we see at any age.
  • We do not provide community physiotherapy at home.
  • Physiotherapy self-referral is a service which allows you to refer yourself to a physiotherapist without having to see a doctor first – although sometimes we suggest you consult your GP before submitting a self-referral form (see below).

When to seek an urgent medical assessment

While self-referral is appropriate for the majority of patients with muscular and joint problems, there are some exceptions where we would advise you to seek alternative medical assessment first. In the cases below DO NOT COMPLETE OUR REFERRAL FORM.

  1. FOR BACK PAIN PATIENTS: If you have pain radiating down one or both legs and/or severe lower back pain and any combination of the symptoms listed in the blue box below. (Click on the pink circle containing the ‘+’ sign to open the blue box).
Combination of symptoms
  • Loss of feeling/pins and needles between your inner thighs or genitals
  • Numbness in or around your back passage or buttocks
  • Altered feeling when using toilet paper to wipe yourself
  • Increasing difficulty when you try to stop or control your flow of urine
  • Loss of sensation when you pass urine
  • Leaking urine or recent need to use pads
  • Not knowing when your bladder is either full or empty
  • Inability to stope a bowel movement or leaking
  • Loss of sensation when you pass a bowel motion
  • Change in ability to achieve an erection or ejaculate
  • Loss of sensation in genitals during sexual intercourse.

If any of the above applies to you, please watch this video on urgent help for your backpain. You can also access this information in different languages.

If this applies to you, please call NHS111 immediately or attend your local Emergency Department.

2. It is important to contact your GP practice or seek more urgent medical advice first, if you have the following:

  • Any unexplained significant weight loss
  • Feeling generally unwell/feverish
  • Pain and/or altered sensation in both arms and/or both legs
  • Have recently become unsteady on your feet
  • You’ve noticed unexplained changes in your vision, speech or swallowing
  • You are having significant uncontrolled pain.

3. Attend Minor Injuries/Accident and Emergency Department if you have incurred a significant injury. We are not an emergency assessment unit.

Self-referrals that are NOT for our service

There are other physiotherapy services available which might be more appropriate for you. We are unable to accept referrals to our service for the treatment of the following problems:

  • Neurological conditions – e.g. stroke, MS, head or spinal cord injuries, functional neurological disorders or Parkinson’s
  • Respiratory conditions – e.g. asthma, cystic fibrosis, chronic lung conditions, hyperventilation
  • If community/physiotherapy at home is required
  • If the main problem is related to mobility and balance issues.

Refer to the conditions and circumstances below to identify which alternative physiotherapy service could be more appropriate for you. This may require a consultation and referral from a GP, or a member of the GP team.

Under 16 years of age

Exception: Children with hand injuries can be seen in this Adult MSK Physiotherapy Service.

Alternative service
Self-referral to children’s physiotherapy services.

Neurological conditions

Stroke, MS, Parkinson’s, spinal cord injuries, head injuries, Motor Neurone Disease.

Alternative service
You may be more appropriate for the Integrated Community Team (ICT) or Neurology Team. Your GP or your specialist can refer you.

You can also contact the Adult Social Care Help Desk/Community Physiotherapy Service on 01452 426868.

Respiratory conditions

Asthma, cystic fibrosis and chronic lung disease.

Alternative service

Contact your GP for advice. There is a specialist Respiratory Service.

Unsteady/balance/mobility issues - fear of falling and falls

If you require physiotherapy specifically for falls prevention, balance or mobility problems, please visit our Falls Assessment page for information on remaining strong and steady.

Alternatively if you require home assessment, please call the Adult Help Desk on: 01452 426868

Walking aids

If you require a walking assessment and/or mobility aid (e.g. stick or frame).

Alternative service

Contact the Adult Social Care Help Desk/Community Physiotherapy Service on 01452 426868.

Private purchasing of equipment

You may want  to consider private purchasing of items you require from local mobility shops or from online suppliers, such as: Mobility Aids for the Elderly & Disabled – Manage At Home

Soft collars/cushions/replacement splints/replacement ferrules for walking aids

Private purchasing of equipment

You may want  to consider private purchasing of items you require from local mobility shops or from online suppliers, such as: Mobility Aids for the Elderly & Disabled – Manage At Home

For wrist and hand splits, please browse the various options available on the internet. Below are a couple of links to websites you may find helpful:

Housebound/poor mobility

If you require physiotherapy/occupational therapy, but you are housebound or have severe mobility issues.

Alternative service

Contact the Adult Social Care Help Desk/Community Physiotherapy Service on 01452 426868.

Foot problems

If your problem is related to specific foot pains. Podiatry might be more appropriate.

Alternative service

To check you are appropriate and to refer yourself to the Podiatry Service, follow this link Gloucestershire Podiatry Referral Form > Glos Health & Care NHS Foundation Trust (

Waiting times

Routine appointments: These can vary, but we aim to see everyone between 8-12 weeks.

Urgent appointments: Some patients will be identified as urgent. We aim to see these patients within a few weeks. These might include patients who have had recent bone fractures/breaks, operations or injuries.

Worsening symptoms: If your symptoms get significantly worse while you are waiting for an appointment, please see your GP/seek further medical advice. This may result in your pain medication being reviewed, further action taken, or the GP may contact us to request a more urgent appointment.


If you no longer require an appointment, please contact the department you requested treatment from and speak to a receptionist or leave a message.

If you do not attend your physiotherapy appointment and have not informed us with a valid reason within 24 hours of the allocated appointment, then our policy is to DISCHARGE you from treatment, and this will be documented in your medical records.

Please give as much notice as possible (more than 24 hours) when cancelling an appointment, to allow us to reuse this appointment for another patient. In 2022, the cost of missed appointments to the NHS was more than £216 million.

Sometimes a letter is sent out asking you to ring us to book yourself an appointment with us. The letter explains that if we do not hear from you within 3 weeks, we will assume you no longer require physiotherapy and you will be discharged.

Additional services and groups

ESCAPE-pain Exercise and Education Group

This is a nationally-run group which most of our physiotherapy departments run. There is a group for patients with knee and hip arthritic pain. Some sites also run a group for patients with chronic back pain.

The programme involves attending 10 sessions over five weeks of exercise and education.

If you are interested in attending this group, please indicate by writing ‘Escape Pain’ on your paper self-referral form (in the section where you can write additional information about your condition). If completing the online referral form, check the ‘Escape Pain’ box.

There is also an app and an online version of the group available. To find out more, click here>

One-off Assessment and Advice Clinics

On occasion, departments may run sessions for patients who are happy to opt for a one-off assessment and advice/exercise prescription session. Sometimes this means they might be seen sooner than the predicted waiting time. If you would like to opt for this, tick ‘Yes’ for the ‘One-off clinic’ option on the referral form.

Talking Therapies

NHS Talking Therapies is a free service which provides access to psychological services. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) for people with mild to moderate anxiety and depression, as well as other mental health difficulties.

Telephone: 0800 073 220

Visit the NHS Talking Therapies website to find out more.


Healthy Lifestyles Gloucestershire

Healthy Lifestyles Gloucestershire is a service you can self-refer to for support with:

  • healthy eating
  • reducing alcohol intake
  • smoking cessation
  • weight loss
  • increasing activity levels.

Telephone: 0800 755 5533

Visit the Healthy Lifestyles website to find out more.



Many conditions can be significantly helped or successfully treated by appropriate self-management.

Our waiting times for an appointment can vary, so it is advisable to try self-help advice as the first step.

getUbetter app

While you are waiting for your appointment, you may find it beneficial to access getUbetter. This app can help with your condition which is linked to our local musculoskeletal pathways.

To access, scan the QR Code and it will take you directly to a registration page, or visit:

QR code to access get U Better app

ESCAPE-pain app and website

For patients with knee and hip osteoarthritis.

Scan the QR code or visit:

Chartered Society of Physiotherapy

Visit the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy website for Information and guidance for managing your pain and improving your quality of life. This includes specific exercises you can do at home, along with links to further support for important factors that are known to contribute to pain, such as mental health and work.

Scan the QR code or visit:

The Pain Toolkit

The Pain Toolkit is for people who live with persistent pain and healthcare teams who support them. Visit the website here: Pain Toolkit – Pain Self Management by Pete Moore

GHT's Pain Management Service

Persistent, chronic or long-term pain is complex, and there is rarely a single treatment to resolve it. But Gloucester Hospital NHS Foundation Trust’s Pain Management Service can help you address all aspects of persistent pain management, and help you live well with pain. Find out more here: Pain management service (

Final checklist

Are you appropriate for our service?

When completing the self-referral form you must tick ‘correct’ to ALL OF THE BELOW to be eligible for our self-referral service.

  • I am over 16 years of age
  • I am registered with a Gloucestershire GP
  • I have read the information about ‘when to seek immediate medical assessment’ and this DOES NOT APPLY to me
  • AM NOT SEEKING specific physiotherapy treatment for the following conditions/problems:
    Neurological conditions – e.g. stroke, MS, head or spinal cord injuries, functional neurological disorders or Parkinson’s
    Respiratory conditions – e.g. asthma, cystic fibrosis, chronic lung conditions, hyperventilation
    DO NOT require community physiotherapy, or physiotherapy at home
    My main problem is NOT related to mobility or balance issues

Online referral

This is the quickest and most reliable process in terms of processing your referral.

Fill in the online form and press ‘submit’. You will receive confirmation of your submission via e-mail when we receive it. If you do not receive a confirmation, please check your spam and junk folders.

Self-referral process – how it works

Contact information

Cirencester Hospital

Address: Tetbury Road, Cirencester GL7 1UY

Telephone: 0300 421 6270

Opening hours
Monday to Friday, 8am-4pm

Link to further information>

Fairford Hospital

Address: The Croft, Fairford GL7 4BB

Telephone 0300 421 6470

Opening hours
Monday to Friday, 8am-4pm

Link to further information>

George Moore Community Clinic

Address: Moore Road, Bourton-on-the-Water GL54 2AZ

Telephone: 0300 421 8815

Opening hours
Tuesday to Friday, 8am-4pm

Link to further information>

Forest of Dean Community Hospital

Address: Steam Mills Road, Cinderford GL14 3HY

Telephone: 0300 421 8711

Opening hours
Monday to Friday, 8am-4pm


North Cotswolds Hospital

Address: Stow Road, Moreton-in-Marsh GL56 0DS

Telephone: 0300 421 8815

Opening hours
Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, 8am-4pm

Stroud Therapy Department

Address: Level 4, 1 King Street, Stroud GL5 1RR

Telephone: 0300 421 8895

Opening hours
Monday to Friday, 8am-4pm

Tewkesbury Community Hospital

Address: Barton Road, Tewkesbury GL20 5GJ

Telephone: 0300 421 6133

Opening hours
Monday to Friday, 8am-4pm

Link to further information>

Vale Community Hospital

Address: Lister Road, Dursley GL11 4BA

Telephone: 0300 421 8481

Opening hours
Monday to Friday, 8am–4pm

Link to further information>

Winchcombe Medical Centre

Address: Greet Road, Winchcombe, Cheltenham GL54 5GZ

Telephone: 0300 421 6133

Opening hours
Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday, 8am-4pm

Link to further information>