Update on musculoskeletal services in North Tyneside

Wed 09th March 2016

In 2014 NHS North Tyneside Clinical Commissioning Group started to review the way that services for people with musculoskeletal (MSK) conditions are provided. These are conditions that affect muscles, bones and joints often causing on-going, chronic pain.

During the review, 151 people who had been treated by the local NHS for muscle, bone or joint problems, including back pain in the last three years, gave their views. This included completing a survey, attending a focus group and working with people from groups with protected characteristics.

Based on the feedback that we have received and after careful consideration, NHS North Tyneside Clinical Commissioning Group wants to develop an integrated community musculoskeletal service for the people living in the borough. This will mean bringing together physiotherapy and teams that support bone and joint problems outside hospital so that patients only need to go to one place. This will also start to address many of the issues that were raised:

Patients want to see quicker assessment and correct diagnosis and treatment

As part of the new service, GPs will get more support from MSK specialists to help keep their skills up to date.

GPs will now refer to a single point of contact for all services that a patient may need for their MSK issue, which will help to make sure that the referral is seen quickly by the most appropriate specialist.

People think more appointments should be made available and these should be more accessible for people who work

 The number of appointments will increase, with availability between 8.30 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday to Friday, and with some appointments available at weekends and evenings.

The local NHS should listen to patients

 The MSK service will use an approach known as shared decision making. This means that patients will have an equal say in making decisions about the care and treatment that they receive.

Patients need to be followed up by the clinicians to check on their progress

 As a number of separate services are being brought together, patients will be able to get access to all of the treatment they require much more easily.

What happens next?

 Based on feedback from patients, we will be undertaking a procurement process that will address the issues that people have raised.

A big part of this is making sure that we’re making the best use of the resources that we have available whilst still improving care for patients who use the service.

Physiotherapy is currently provided from 22 sites across the borough and we may need to reduce the number of sites that this service is available at. However, we will be working closely with the organisation that is successful to maximise the number of sites that this would be available at.

We will be looking to start the new service on 1 January 2017 but will keep you updated throughout this process.