NEW PLAN: Staff at Woolgoolga’s Beach Street Family Practice have signed up to participate in a new program for osteoarthritis sufferers.
NEW PLAN: Staff at Woolgoolga’s Beach Street Family Practice have signed up to participate in a new program for osteoarthritis sufferers. Contributed

GPs join in patient care program

GP'S FROM Woolgoolga's Beach Street Family Practice are participating in a project to evaluate the effectiveness of a care co-ordination program for those suffering from osteoarthritis.

The practice is one of five on the Mid North Coast that have teamed up with allied health services for the Primary Care Osteoarthritis Program (PCOAP).

The program is based on evidence that indicates osteoarthritis is best managed through a management plan that suits the individual patient.

GPs will work together with physiotherapists, exercise physiologists and dieticians to deliver the program to patients.

The program is being jointly run by North Coast Primary Health Network, Mid North Coast Local Health District and the NSW Agency for Clinical Innovation (ACI).

Professor Lyn March of ACI said intervention measures could make a real difference.

"Controlling weight is important for those who have osteoarthritis in hip and knee joints, and the right type of exercise can keep the joints mobile and maintain or improve function," she said.

"Movement also improves muscle strength and maximises the health of the cartilage."

In the past 10 years the number of knee and hip replacements being performed in Australia has risen by 47% and 17% respectively.

The PCOAP aims to minimise the suffering and disability of osteoarthritis and to keep people away from the surgical waiting list by acting early to substantially reduce degeneration of the joint.

Prof March said people experiencing frequent pain in hip or knee joints should see their GP.

"If you have been diagnosed with osteoarthritis, ask them about the PCOAP program," she said.



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