Research supporting the re-design of the muscoskeletal pathway

People walking along a pier

Musculoskeletal (MSK) complaints are widespread, with around one in five adults consulting their GP for MSK problems each year. MSK complaints include injuries or pain in the joints, ligaments, muscles, nerves, tendons, and structures that support limbs, neck and back.

Since many MSK issues are age-related, the ageing population in Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire will intensify the demand on primary care in the coming years. Because of this, it is important that we have effective services and a clear pathway to care for patients in the region.

What we did

In summer 2017, our Knowledge Mobilisation team worked with commissioning colleagues to support a consultation and development process, with the aim of improving MSK services across the region. The consultation involved a wide range of stakeholders, including commissioners, clinicians and patients, to map out the MSK services and find out what wasn’t working well. They also undertook a review of the available evidence to inform the work.

Our impact

The consultation and review showed that MSK services were over-complicated, had very long waiting times and were spending money inefficiently. We worked with the lead commissioners and key stakeholders to help co-design a new service model.

The design and implementation of the new service model is likely to have a significant positive impact on clinical and cost effectiveness and access to MSK services.