MSK: A new approach

New National Guidance for Musculoskeletal Health.

2 April 2019


Good Governance Institute (GGI) and Connect Health have launched new national guidance for MSK (musculoskeletal) Health.

Download Board Assurance Prompt for CCG commissioners

Download Board Assurance Prompt for Trusts

Good Governance Institute (GGI) and Connect Health have today launched new national guidance for MSK (musculoskeletal) Health. These independent, practical resources aimed at time-poor senior NHS professionals, include assurance questions that board members and others developing services should be asking to ensure that local service development is progressing along sustainable lines to meet the needs of patients and the taxpayer.

The Board Assurance Prompt format includes a simple maturity matrix and provides sample answers to key questions. The inadequate answer often suggests either a lack of pathway development or ongoing activities in community pathways that are not monitored or evaluated and may be providing poor value for money.

MSK conditions comprise around 14% of all primary care consultations and 10% of all GP referrals to hospitals, resulting in approximately 1.36 million admissions to secondary care and 2.27 million bed days in England in 2016-17.[1]

With capacity and resource already stretched across the NHS, this will have significant finance and performance implications for NHS commissioners, especially if local pathways are not configured optimally.

Integrated Care Systems are emerging as the vehicle for implementation of diverse solutions requiring local leaders to collaborate to both improve the quality of care and ensure financial savings. As MSK is the fourth largest expenditure in the NHS, a key aspect of this will be working together to reduce pressures on acute services.

Andrew Corbett-Nolan, Chief Executive of GGI says

“Connect Health is at the forefront of musculoskeletal health and has a track record of driving innovation and using data to improve patient care. We have therefore been pleased to partner with them to leverage our joint expertise to develop this important guidance for board members of NHS providers and commissioners.”

Prof Andrew Walton, Executive Chair of Connect Health commented

“MSK is a growing problem and there is an urgent need for service redesign in MSK, to displace demand in order to deliver solutions in a setting that is more efficient with better clinical outcomes and patient experience, and lower clinical risk. We are delighted to be partnering with GGI to develop these resources which will help NHS colleagues approach the problem in a way that brings to the fore evidence-based pathways and expertise from a range of sources.”

Board Assurance Prompts have gained particular traction with NHS board members because of their concise and practical nature. The Board Assurance Prompt contains all of the key information required for board members to take decisions on important issues and self-assess their performance, in a succinct and manageable format.

Following a number of focus groups and consultative activities with a range of stakeholders, the development of two full Board Assurance Prompt (BAP) has emerged, one aimed at Trusts, the other at CCG commissioners.

[1] Arthritis Research UK, What is the impact?

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