Physiotherapy Self Referral Frequently Asked Questions

What is self-referral?

Self-referral is a direct route to physiotherapy for those within the South Eastern Trust. It allows you to refer yourself to physiotherapy for assessment & treatment without having to see or be prompted by another healthcare practitioner.

Who can self-refer?

If you reside in the South Eastern trust area, are over 16 and are suffering from e.g. low back pain, neck pain, or recent injuries such as strains and sprains or joint or muscular pain self-referral physiotherapy is for you.

You should continue to consult your Gp or hospital doctor if you are under 16 years, if you have a neurological, paediatric, respiratory, obstetric or gynaecological problem, or if you are under the care of a consultant for this problem.

When will self-referral be available?

Early implementation of Self-referral to NHS MSK physiotherapy will begin in the South Eastern Trust from June 2015 for an initial 6 month period. If this is successful, it is planned that self-referral will be rolled out across Northern Ireland.

How can I self-refer?

There are 3 main ways in which you can self-refer.

  • Online Form – A form can be completed online and submitted by clicking on the following link -
  • PDF form – printable versions of the Self-referral form can be downloaded from the South Eastern Trust Internet site   The printed copy can be completed and posted to the Central Booking Office.
  • Paper form – Self-Referral Forms are available in your GP practice, or all South Eastern Trust Physiotherapy Departments. The paper form can be completed and posted or email to

What happens once I send in my referral form?

Your form will be reviewed by a Senior Physiotherapist within 3 days of receipt. If your condition is assessed as urgent, you will be contacted by telephone to agree an appointment.

If your condition is assessed as less urgent you will be contacted by letter inviting you to telephone to make an appointment at a date and time that suits you.

Where can I attend for physiotherapy assessment ?

Self-referral physiotherapy will be available in the following locations:

  • Ards Community Hospital 
  • Bangor Community Hospital 
  • Downe Hospital 
  • Lagan Valley Hospital 
  • Lisburn Health Centre 
  • Stewartstown Road Clinic 
  • Saintfield Health Centre

How will I benefit?

  • You can benefit from self-referral in the following ways
  • It is a direct route to advice and intervention when you most need it
  • It gives you the opportunity to consult with a specialist musculoskeletal physiotherapist to help you manage your condition. 
  • Early intervention can speed up healing and recovery 
  • It supports the individual in developing skills in self-care and self-management. 
  • It gives people a simplified route in and out of services 
  • It promotes health focused behaviour

If you are unsure of the process please consult your GP.

What should I wear?

Please wear comfortable shoes or trainers and bring appropriate clothing such as shorts or a vest-top or T-Shirt so that your condition can be properly assessed by your Physiotherapist

How long will the assessment take?

This varies but usually between 30 – 45 minutes.

What happens if I fail to attend my appointment?

If you do not attend the appointment you have agreed and fail to contact us within 24 hours you will be discharged from the service. The outcome of all Physiotherapy Assessments and treatments will be forwarded to your GP.

Useful Links

You may find the following websites useful:
Chartered Society of Physiotherapy: Your health provides advice on common musculoskeletal conditions, exercises and how to stay healthy and active.
Arthritis Research UK: Arthritis Research UK offers a range of advice and support for people living with all forms of arthritis.
Musculoskeletal Self-help app from NHS Scotland 
NHS Choices:

For further information contact your local physiotherapy Department
Or complete a Self-Referral Form & Return to

Central Booking Office
1st floor Main Building
Downshire Estate
Ardglass Road
BT30 6RL
Or email the form to: