What is a specialist physiotherapist?

Specialist physiotherapists are recognised experts within a given field of physiotherapy. Our specialists have training and expertise beyond the scope of specialist physiotherapists, sometimes known as extended scope or advanced practitioners.

This means that our specialists are not only experts within physiotherapy but also have received extensive training in medical diagnostic methods and management of musculoskeletal disorders.

When do you need our specialists?

If you:

  • Don’t know what’s wrong with you
  • Have not been helped by physiotherapy, osteopathy or chiropractic
  • Have not been helped by medication or surgery
  • Have complicated or unusual symptoms
  • Have been told by another healthcare provider ‘I can’t find anything wrong’
  • Have been told your symptoms are due to stress
  • Have chronic or persistent pain


Background and key to our specialist care

Our specialists, Rob Patterson and Kate James, are recognised experts in musculoskeletal medicine with decades of experience in orthopaedic and neurosurgical clinics. They are qualified and experienced in the use of x-ray, MRI, CT and ultrasound and skilled in investigation interpretation, explanation and application.

Both Rob and Kate were trained for their extended scope roles in the famous Frenchay Hospital by senior consultant surgeons and radiologists. As a clinical assistant to a number of orthopaedic surgeons, Rob’s practice was carefully evaluated by a research team from Bristol University and the published work confirmed his superior diagnostic accuracy, cost-effectiveness and patient and GP satisfaction with the care provided. Rob’s pioneering role played a part in paving the way for the adoption of extended scope physiotherapy throughout the country.

You can expect:

  • Knowledgeable, experienced and empathetic interviewing
  • Evidence driven intuitive examination
  • Use of non-routine specialist tests
  • Exceptional ability to explain your diagnosis in everyday language
  • Effective treatment built on a foundation of accurate diagnosis and understanding
  • When necessary seamless referral, teamwork and professional co-operation

Our specialist clinics

“Rob Patterson has considerable established expertise in the assessment and management of a variety of musculoskeletal disorders. He has a particular interest in the assessment and treatment of spinal disorders and largely single handedly established a very effective back triage unit available to G.P.’s in the North Bristol area.”Mr Ian Nelson M. Ch. (Ortho) FRCS, Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon

“Rob is so unlike any other physio I have come across – his breadth of experience and knowledge, and his ability to use this to support each individual, are unique in my experience.”Dr Kathryn Armitstead, Actuary

“Rob’s expertise extends across all areas of musculoskeletal medicine, but his particular skillset of dealing with people with chronic pain and also more specialised problems such as work related upper limb disorder, has been exemplary.”Dr Sam Patel, Consultant Rheumatologist and Acute Physician

“I find [Rob] one of the most clinically astute and caring clinicians I have come across.  His hands are the nearest things to mobile MRI scanners you will ever find!   His ability to diagnose and treat musculoskeletal conditions is of the highest order.”Mr Jonathan Webb, Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon