Treatment of frozen shoulder in a primary care setting

Central London Community Healthcare

  • Project led by Central London Community Healthcare.
  • Focused on physiotherapist-led treatment of frozen shoulder.
  • Aimed to speed up the treatment pathway for frozen shoulder, reduce the number of health care appointments needed and provide more cost-effective care.
  • Introduced a new service where specially-trained physiotherapists provided guided shoulder joint distension in primary care settings, enabling patients to have their assessment, interventions, follow-up and rehabilitation at a single location.

The Central London Community Healthcare team introduced a new service offering patients with 'frozen shoulder' guided shoulder joint distension in a primary care setting.

Guided intra-articular shoulder injections and shoulder joint distension has the potential to significantly reduce the impact and severity of frozen shoulder. The procedure takes around 15 minutes and the patient can return home immediately. Shoulder joint distension was previously only available in hospital, as the end point of a lengthy care pathway which took up to 18 weeks and often involved multiple hospital visits. The project team set out to:

  • speed up the treatment pathway
  • reduce the number of health care appointments needed
  • provide more cost-effective care.

The new service was provided by specially-trained physiotherapists and enabled patients to have their assessment, interventions including injections and guided shoulder joint distension, follow-up and rehabilitation at a single location.


  • 100% of patients felt that they had improved slightly or substantially.
  • Statistically significant mean improvements in outcome measures.
  • Clinically significant mean improvements in pain and range of motion.
  • Significant cost savings, with a cost per patient of £131 compared to £267 for the traditional treatment pathway.

Further reading

Learning report

Shine: Improving the value of local healthcare services

Successes and lessons from the first two rounds of the Health Foundation’s Shine programme: annual awards to test small-scale...

About this programme


Shine 2011

This programme ran from 2011 to 2012 and awarded 14 teams with up to £75,000 for projects to find new approaches to deliverin...

You might also like...

Press release

Care Quality Commission presents mixed picture of the state of care in England

Our response to the Care Quality Commission’s annual assessment of the state of health and social care in England.

Press release

NHS facing uphill battle

Health Foundation response to NHS England monthly statistics for August and September 2019.

Press release

New funding for diagnostic equipment falls considerably below what is needed

Health Foundation response to the Prime Minister’s announcement of funding for cancer screening.

Kjell-bubble-diagramArtboard 101

Work with us

We look for talented and passionate individuals as everyone at the Health Foundation has an important role to play.

View current vacancies
Artboard 101 copy 2

The Q Community

Q is an initiative connecting people with improvement expertise across the UK.

Find out more