GP-led musculoskeletal scheme cuts waits and boosts outcomes

A GP-led musculoskeletal service has improved waiting times and outcomes and the model it uses should be widely adopted by GP commissioners, clinicians have said.

Dr Louise Warburton: 'CCGs must begin to talk to GPs about local needs in musculoskeletal services' (Photograph: UNP)
Dr Louise Warburton: 'CCGs must begin to talk to GPs about local needs in musculoskeletal services' (Photograph: UNP)

The Pennine MSK Partnership in Oldham, Greater Manchester, led by GPs and GPSIs, has halved the time to first appointment and improved symptom scores and treatment access.

Outcomes data were unveiled at the Rheumatology 2012 conference in Glasgow last week by rheumatology specialist nurse Jill Firth PhD, a member of the partnership.

Dr Firth said the service was ‘leading the way and providing an example’ of how clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) can commission effective care.

GPSI Dr Louise Warburton, president of the Primary Care Rheumatology Society, said partnerships like the one in Oldham gave GPs greater input into local service design.

‘Our service in Telford is sim­ilar,’ she said. ‘Because we have such good relationships with local GPs, if they’re not happy, they tell us and we can change things so that patients get a better experience. If instead it’s a hospital service, it’s remote – as a GP you feel you’ve no input really over what happens.’

Musculoskeletal services
Dr Warburton said CCGs themselves must also begin to talk to GPs about local needs in musculoskeletal services. ‘For example, in my area, there are lots of people with chronic pain,’ she said. ‘GPs have no pathways at the moment to refer those patients.’

The Oldham service provides a musculoskeletal service worth £23m. This deals with around 9,500 referrals a year, offering an infusion service, podiatry, physiotherapy and occupational and psychological therapy.

A regional audit in 2011 found that patients using the service waited just 19 days for a first outpatient appointment, following referral by their GP, compared with 45 days on ave­rage across the region.

It also found that 69% of patients had DAS-28 scores taken every four to six weeks until treated to target as against 31% regionally.

In addition, 15% of eligible RA patients received biologic treatment, compared with 6% on average in the UK and 8-12% across Europe.

Ann Todd, finance director at Pennine MSK Partnership, said its model could be adopted by the PCT for managing other disease areas.

Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Register

Already registered?

Sign in

Follow Us:

Just published

Locum GP exodus to salaried roles as COVID-19 pandemic hits income

Locum GP exodus to salaried roles as COVID-19 pandemic hits income

As many as 1,000 GPs may have quit locum work to take up salaried positions since...

Flexibility over PCN recruitment cash extended in bid to boost staff this year

Flexibility over PCN recruitment cash extended in bid to boost staff this year

NHS chiefs have added 'nurse associates' to the list of roles PCNs can hire this...

Fellowship scheme offers £10,000 a year to support every new GP

Fellowship scheme offers £10,000 a year to support every new GP

A two-year GP fellowship scheme promised in the 2020/21 GP contract deal will offer...

NHS chiefs warned not to underestimate pressure on GPs as figures show sharp rise in workload

NHS chiefs warned not to underestimate pressure on GPs as figures show sharp rise in workload

GP workload has surged sharply in recent months, official data show, underscoring...

Call for 'decisive action' to halt decline in GP continuity of care

Call for 'decisive action' to halt decline in GP continuity of care

Researchers have called for 'decisive action' to reverse declining continuity of...

Salaried roles now the most attractive career option for GPs, poll reveals

Salaried roles now the most attractive career option for GPs, poll reveals

Salaried jobs are now the most attractive career option for GPs, according to a GPonline...