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Orthopaedic physiotherapy screening clinic

About us

Orthopaedic physiotherapyA high proportion of patients on the waiting list to see an orthopaedic surgeon will be managed conservatively (non-surgically), and treatment can commence at an earlier stage.

The Orthopaedic Physiotherapy Screening Clinic (OPSC) is a service offered by the Department of Orthopaedics at Mater Hospital Brisbane. All referrals are triaged- a process for sorting patients into groups based on need. They may need medical treatment by an orthopaedic consultant or they may be classified as appropriate for a trial of conservative management in the OPSC program.

In the clinic, you will be assessed by an experienced Musculoskeletal/Sports Physiotherapist with postgraduate qualifications, and given advice regarding the nature of your condition and the non-surgical management options.

The clinic is supported by a multidisciplinary team comprising physiotherapists, an occupational therapist, psychologist and dietitian. Part of the initial assessment in the clinic will identify if referral to one or more members of this team is recommended. Following the initial assessment, patients will be reviewed at the clinic as necessary.

If there are any problems or concerns, or further investigations are required (such as an x-ray, CT scan or MRI), the specialised musculoskeletal physiotherapist will discuss this with the orthopaedic consultant and these will be arranged. You will remain on the waiting list to see an orthopaedic consultant.

Evidence from similar programs in the United Kingdom and Australia have indicated that the clinic improves service to patients, reduces time on waiting lists, increases patient satisfaction and allows orthopaedic consultants to see a higher ratio of patients who are likely to require surgery.

The OPSC treating teams


  • assess, diagnose and tailor treatments to your particular movement disorder
  • aim to restore normal movement and physical independence for work and recreation
  • utilise various drug free-treatments and techniques to reduce pain and increase function
  • provide education and self-management strategies
  • provide and assess treatment options including individual consultation, education or exercise classes and hydrotherapy.

Occupational therapists

  • assist you to identify and develop skills for meaningful living
  • advise on practical skills for activities of daily living or lifestyle management
  • aim to help you achieve a meaningful and satisfying life in the presence of your medical condition
  • address personal goals relating to caring for yourself and others and participating in leisure and work activities
  • offer individual sessions or group programs.


  • assessment and therapy for concerns related to, or affected by, your orthopaedic condition
  • assist you to manage pain, sleep, anxiety, depression and other psychological issues related to your physical condition
  • assist you to specify health changing behaviors, other goals and examine realistic ways of achieving them
  • offer individual sessions or group programs.

Nutritionists and dietitians

  • available to assess your diet and to help you make healthier lifestyle choices
  • offer initial sixty minute appointment to all new clients, where a complete assessment of your diet and body measurements is conducted
  • provide you with a personal nutrition plan
  • invite you to join Healthy Eating and Lifestyle Program (HELP), a six-week group program to support your positive lifestyle changes.

Support groups

Active Living Program (ALP)

The Active Living Program is a series of weekly lectures given by all health professionals in the OPSC team over a five week period. Various start dates are available.

The program aims to educate patients with joint pain to understand and manage their condition better. Topics include:

  • self management
  • action planning
  • problem solving
  • the physiology of pain
  • nutrition and healthy eating
  • helpful thinking
  • supportive relationships
  • stress, anxiety and mood management
  • relaxation and participating in daily activities.

You can still be attending individual sessions with any of the health professionals in the OPSC team while attending these classes. There is no cost involved in attending and morning tea will be provided.

Healthy Eating and Lifestyle Program (HELP)

The HELP education program is run on a weekly basis for a six week period. Each week a new topic is introduced.

When you graduate from the HELP sessions, you will be encouraged to attend monthly recharge sessions where you will learn more skills for following a healthy lifestyle, stay in touch with other members from the group and monitor your weight. This process is part of a comprehensive treatment approach and your participation is encouraged.

If you are interested in these support groups, please notify any of the health professionals who may be treating you.

Contact details


Level 2, Mater Hospital Brisbane
Physiotherapy, occupational therapy, dietetics and psychology

For more information telephone 07 3163 5824

© 2010 Mater Misericordiae Ltd. ACN 096 708 922.

other physio

Mater acknowledges consumer consultation in the development of this patient information.
Mater Doc Num: PI-CLN-420030
Last modified 09/8/2017.
Consumers were consulted in the development of this patient information.
Last consumer engagement date: 19/7/2014
For further translated health information, you can visit healthtranslations.vic.gov.au/ supported by the Victorian Department of Health and Human Services that offers a range of patient information in multiple languages.
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