FirstAssist, the healthcare management buyout from Royal & SunAlliance, is to set up a nationwide network of physiotherapists.

The network has been formed through a deal with health services firm, Sona.

Sona currently provides a range of fitness services through its 24 physiotherapy centres around the UK.

Sona also plans to open a further 16 sites by the spring of 2004.

FirstAssist managing director Steve Wood said: "This is an exciting area for us, as the demand for physiotherapy continues to grow. FirstAssist clients will all benefit from this initiative, which includes a UK network of over 300 accredited physiotherapists, in addition to Sona's facilities. Localised pricing, quality assurance and a consistent level of service for all employees make a huge difference to the proposition we can take to our clients."