Your questions answered – MSKPN hosts live Twitter chat

Well we hosted our first live Twitter chat on Friday 3 April. The MSKPN directors came together on a Teams call, and were armed with some idea of the flow and what to expect. There was a slight issue when Rupert couldn’t find a hashtag key on his apple keyboard. But otherwise it went really well and was packed full of useful info!

For the full story, check out #AskMSKPN.

Here’s a summary of the key questions and answers which broadly covered 4 themes:

Q1 Rates

Q2 Banks

Q3 Furlough

Q4 Remote working


Q1a. Why don’t we qualify for Business Rates Relief as a sector?

Relief has been given to the leisure, retail and hospitality industries. Medical services are currently specifically excluded.

Local authorities can decide whether properties not listed are broadly similar in nature to those mentioned. Think we’ve got a good case! We need to persuade them


Q1b. Has anybody had any success yet with any local authorities?

Pure Sports Medicine have had success with Tower Hamlets but that’s all we’re aware of at the moment.


Q1c. What can we all do to get things changed?

We are calling for a rates moratorium for at least 12 months as has already been granted to a number of other industries. We need the help of MPs ASAP to include private physiotherapists in the list of businesses eligible for exemption from business rates.

Petition – is a great platform allowing us to be heard in Parliament – we’re aiming for 10,000 signatures. Each individual MSK practice from the smallest to the biggest need to harness patient power but sending emails to your data bases and sharing the URL

Grab the template letter by signing up to be a member.


Q2a Any advice about the process of getting support from the bank?

Make sure you’ve done everything else you can do first before you approach your bank.

So by that we mean: Furlough your staff where you can. Start conversations with all your key stakeholders – suppliers, Landlord, Local authorities with regards rates etc.


Q2b. How do I go about applying for an emergency loan?

Approach your existing bank. Others may be offering support but this isn’t a great time to start new relationships. There are lots of different rates and approaches by banks so do share what you’ve been offered.

Two tests will be around eligibility and then viability. Likely we will all be eligible, the question then is about viability so you need to demonstrate that to your bank. Viable before and viable post the crisis – good luck!


Q2c. Has anybody had any success with the British Business Bank Loan scheme?

Not that we know of but a few of us are in the process of finalising applications. These are being treated certainly by Santander on a commercial basis so all the normal rules apply.

Our understanding is once it’s been through your banks internal credit process that they will then apply for the monies via a portal at the British Business Bank.

There has been some controversy over rates and PG’s but think that the Chancellor is going to put paid to that over the coming days so standby for more news on that front.


Q3a. Can my Furlough Staff take on other work?

Staff can take on voluntary work, if staff want to take on paid work, revenue generating, they must come off Furlough and seek agreement from their employer to take up this opportunity.

Staff can undertake training on a voluntary basis


Q3b. Are employees rights impacted by Furlough?

Employee rights are fully protected while they are Furloughed, this includes the accrual of annual leave. The premise of the Government initiative is to protect employment to ensure we have staff on the other side of this crisis to help and support business growth


Q3c. How do I manage holidays for Furloughed staff?

Employers have two options:

Option 1: You can allow staff to take annual leave, but they will need to come off Furlough and the company will need to foot the bill, a big consideration when managing costs is vital.

Option 2: You can discuss with your employees what annual leave you can realistically allow for the remainder of the year when they come off Furlough, carrying unused annual leave into 2021-2022, the cost of impact of annual leave being spread.


Q4a. What’s the uptake of virtual appointments been like?

Generally there’s been a really positive take up for patients and practitioners alike. There’s getting the tech sorted, camera angles and kit. But over a very short time period there appears to be the beginnings a new dimension to working remotely.

We had heard the same…Google Hangouts and Microsoft Teams and Whatsapp and Skype may be safer bets but we’ve received no guidance yet to stop using Zoom…sure that might change.


Q4b. A more technical question

What platforms are coming out on top?

Patients choice is number 1 – seems to be FT or Zoom (security noted) and rehab wise @physitrack and @rehab_guru are getting thumbs up.


Q4c. Any hints and tips about the actual consultations themselves to make them as effective as possible?

Slow down, listen, smile – stare into the camera, at eye height! Take good notes, listen up for oddities and red flags, easy progression and get the patient to repeat what you think is going on and need to do.


So that wraps up our first live twitter chat. It was intense trying to cover off everything but we hope everyone found it useful – let us know if you think we should do it again by emailing us at

Take a look at our latest resources. And don’t forget the petition which now has over 2,500 signatures.