Review of services for people with muscle, bone or joint problems, including back pain

Mon 30th June 2014

NHS North Tyneside CCG wants to understand the experiences of patients in relation to current services for people with muscle, bone or joint problems, including back pain (also known as musculoskeletal services or MSK services).

National figures estimate that 1 in 4 adults are affected by longstanding muscle, joint, bone or back pain problems are responsible for up to 30% of GP consultations.  They are also the most common reason for repeat consultations with GPs.

It is estimated that nearly 60% of people who are on long-term sick leave state these problems as the reason, with low back pain reported by about 80% of people at some time in their life. It is also estimated that the majority of patients (70-90%) attending orthopaedic out-patients do not require, and many do not wish, to undergo surgery.

At the same time, we wish to reduce the waiting time from referral to treatment.  Many patients referred to rheumatology departments have non-inflammatory joint or soft tissue problems that can be successfully managed in primary care.

We are committed to improve healthcare and health outcomes by promoting wellbeing and preventative healthcare, delivering healthcare locally in primary, community and home settings and promoting self-care and care planning.

We are currently undertaking a full review of all services for patients with problems with their muscles, bones or joints.  This includes conditions like knee pain and a bad back, as well as other more complex conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis.

When asked about commissioning intentions during the autumn last year, local people told us that improving the quality of services is important to them.  As part of this review we will be looking at how to improve access to these musculoskeletal services, information for patients to self-manage their conditions and how people can receive better support before and during their treatment or therapy. Evidence shows that prevention and advice is important to stop these problems progressing and we want to make sure that people keep as healthy as possible for longer.

CCGs in Newcastle and Gateshead are also reviewing these services at the same time and we will be working with them – GP commissioners in each of these areas will be talking to each other about making sure services work well together and link up where appropriate.

By reviewing and improving how people access and use muscle, bone, joint or back pain services, we will be making sure that the best value for money and resources are focused where local people need them.  This includes improving access to services and appointments for all people.  We will be using the information from this survey to shape how we ask local providers of NHS services (existing or new) to deliver these services.

You can give your views on these services by completing an on-line survey here.

Please respond before 30th September 2014.  We will also be talking to people about what a ‘good’ service looks like between now and September and will publish the key themes from the feedback we receive on our website in the autumn.

If you would like a paper copy of the survey, or would like support to complete it, please ring 0191 374 4241 or email