Orthopaedic Clinical Assessment and Treatment Service (Orthopaedic CATS)

The orthopaedic CATS service provides assessment, diagnosis and management of routine musculoskeletal (joint and muscles) problems in adults.

Contact service

This service is for patients who require an assessment from a highly specialist practitioner because:

  • An injury has not responded to normal management in the expected timescale
  • A problem is complex or difficult to diagnose
  • They may require further investigation

The service is provided by a specialist team of physiotherapists who have Advanced Practice training in this area. The service works closely with GPs, physiotherapists and consultants to provide a diagnosis and explore management options for patients.

The practitioners may request some tests such as blood tests, X- Rays or scans to help reach a diagnosis and planning your treatment although this is not always necessary. When considered appropriate, you may be offered a steroid injection as part of your treatment.

Most people are consulted once or twice in orthopaedic CATS. Appointments may be provided over the telephone, by video consultation or in person.

You may be referred onto other services such as physiotherapy , podiatry, orthotics, dietetics, orthopaedic surgeons, other consultants or pain management if necessary.

Referrals to Orthopaedic CAT Service:

Referrals are required to access this service. Usually this is through your GP practice or pharmacist. In some cases other health professionals, such as physiotherapists, may ask for an orthopaedic CATS opinion.

Most problems get better with time, appropriate activity modification and progression. Therefore, we do not need to see everyone. There are some self-management resources here. It is also normal for you to be seen and treated in physiotherapy before health professionals consider a referral to orthopaedic CATS.

Planning for your appointment:

Our appointments are normally 30 minutes; it may be scheduled for longer in some cases for example if your GP has asked us to look at more than one problem.

Sometimes appointments take longer than our allocated time. This may mean we run a little late or we agree to see you another day to complete the assessment. Please allow yourself plenty of time.

Appointments can take place using telephone, video consultation or in person.

If you are having a consultation over the phone or video please ensure that you are in a suitably private location to discuss your health and dressed appropriately for an appointment where you may be asked to move around

Cancelling your appointment:

If you are running late or unable to make your appointment, please contact us at the first available opportunity on 01302 644206.

If you are late, we may not be able to see you as this can cause delays for patients who have appointments after you. If you fail to attend your appointment and have not notified us, you will be discharged from our service. If you still require an appointment, you will need to obtain another referral.

During your appointment:

At your initial assessment you will discuss your problem with the practitioner. They will ask questions relating to your problem, which might include:

  • The history of your condition
  • Activities that influence your symptoms
  • Your general health and wellbeing
  • Medical history and medication
  • Your work, hobbies, commitments and interests and how they are affected

You will normally have a physical examination as part of your assessment. This may require you to undress down to your underwear; you may wish to bring shorts and a vest for your comfort.

Your practitioner will discuss the diagnosis and management of your problem and agree a plan with you.

What happens next?

After agreeing your management plan, you may be:

  • given advice and discharged if you can self- manage your problem
  • referred for further investigations. E.G. XRay, blood tests, MRI, Nerve conduction studies
  • referred to physiotherapy to support and assist you in your rehabilitation
  • referred to another service for example, orthopaedics, rheumatology or pain management
  • offered an injection or advice around medication
  • offered a follow- up appointment


Orthopaedic CATS operates across the Doncaster and Bassetlaw Teaching Hospitals’ region from the following sites:

  • Doncaster Royal Infirmary
  • Bassetlaw Hospital
  • Retford Hospital
  • Mexborough Montagu Hospital

Hub sites are located at:

  • Askern White Wings Centre
  • Edlington Martinwells Centre
  • Thorne Vermuyden Centre

Please check your appointment letter carefully to ensure you attend the correct location.

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