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Musculoskeletal Services

Have you had an assessment and treatment for a joint, bone, muscle or ligament problem? Have your say

We are re-procuring a community based musculoskeletal assessment and triage service in Barnsley and we've been asking for your help with this.

What are musculoskeletal services?

The term musculoskeletal (often referred to as MSK for short) includes over 200 different conditions affecting your joints, bones, muscles and soft tissues. This often includes things like back and neck pain, shoulder, elbow, wrist, knee, ankle or foot problems.

MSK covers individual services like:

  • Physiotherapy
  • Orthopaedics
  • Rheumatology
  • Chronic Pain

Why are we re-procuring these services?

NHS England has provided new guidance for the way people with an MSK condition are assessed and referred on for treatment.

During 2017/18 clinical commissioning groups (who plan and buy healthcare services for the local population) must ensure that there is a service in place which provides people with an MSK condition with a clinical assessment first, before they are referred for further treatment. This ensures that you are seen by the right person, first time.

Your GP should refer you to this service.

NHS England has also said that referrals should be assessed in a timely manner. Good practice shows that services should be able to contact the patient within 48 hours to discuss the outcomes and offer choice, if a referral to a hospital consultant is required.

How do MSK services work in Barnsley?

There is an assessment service in place, together with a range of treatment services, including community physiotherapy for example.

If we compare the services in Barnsley, with the new national guidance, there are some differences to the way the current services operate:

  • People are not always referred to the clinical assessment service first
  • Sometimes people are referred directly to the physiotherapy team by their GP
  • Sometimes people refer themselves directly to the physiotherapy team
  • Not everyone is contacted within 48 hours.

Next steps 

Thank you to everyone who took the time to provide us with their feedback in relation to this. 

The collective feedback that we have gained as a result of this engagement will help us understand more about how MSK assessment and treatment services work now - what respondents think works well and what doesn't in relation to the those points we described in the introduction to this report.

We will share the themes from the feedback with the organisations wishing to bid for this service, in order to find a provider best placed to meet the needs of Barnsley people and in line with the national guidance. We will also use this information to develop quality standards. 

As a direct result of the above engagement we have recruited three patient representatives to be involved in the procurement panel for the re-procurement of the Community Musculoskeletal Clinical Triage, Assessment and Treatment Service in Barnsley.  Their role will be to help to set the relevant questions for potential bidders of this service relating specifically to accessibility and patient involvement and they will also help to score these questions in order to help determine the successful bidder to provide these services going forward. 

Copies of the report will be sent directly to those respondents who have requested it and a copy can also be downloaded here.

New service

The new service provider has now been announced. For full details please visit our news section here.