Collaborative working in challenging times

How Connect Health and the Port of Tyne worked together to support a diverse workforce during COVID-19 and beyond.


Port of Tyne is one of the five largest UK Trust Ports and the Board reports into the UK Department for Transport. It is an innovative and efficient deep sea port, with leading edge facilities on the River Tyne. It provides £618m GVA to the regional economy, supporting 12,000 jobs with a diverse cargo and network of sea routes.

Niggles, aches, pains and anxieties stored up during lockdown need to be nipped in the bud before they become long-term health issues. Connect Health supports many organisations to manage and prevent musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) in the workplace. MSDs have been the most common cause of sickness absence at the Port for a number of years, accounting for over 37% of all sickness absence in 2019.


We decided to work with Connect Health to support our employees in the workplace with Musculoskeletal Disorders (MSDs) and to help us reduce our sickness absence levels. In the first year of our partnership
with Connect Health, musculoskeletal sickness absence reduced by nearly 50%. The impact of the service and the outcomes gained has exceeded our expectations.

Louise Tinkler, Director of HR, Port of Tyne


Connect Health delivers a comprehensive service offering:

  • Connect Health started working with the Port on site on 27 January 2020 providing a weekly occupational health physiotherapy service.
  • The main driver of the new service was to support the employees and reduce absence related to musculoskeletal disorders.
  • The new ‘onsite’ occupational health physiotherapy service was a first for Port of Tyne.
  • The plan is to provide more proactive wellbeing services to reduce the musculoskeletal risk.


How Connect Health adapted the service model during COVID-19

  • In order to continue to support the Port’s employees during the pandemic, the clinics were moved to a remote basis as the lockdown started.
  • Employees were able to access the same clinician and receive the same level of help and support over the telephone.
  • Appointments were also provided via a video call, if required.
  • Employees accessed live daily exercises, recorded exercises, wellbeing webinars, home self-assessments and remote workplace assessments.



  • Number of days’ sickness relating to MSDs per employee has halved.
  • One of the positive things that people working from home appreciated, was the self-assessments that Connect Health delivered.
  • All colleagues were encouraged to complete an assessment.



I was referred to Connect Health by my normal training manager, and the process couldn’t have been easier. In my initial appointment, I talked through the problems I have been experiencing, before being shown a series of exercises to practise at home. I would 100% recommend booking in with the onsite physio. Not only is it convenient, but it’s free of charge, and you know you’re in good hands with Connect Health.


Very rewarding, my injury was a very niggling type, which was pointed out in great detail by Andre, I also felt comfortable with his easy going manner, I am currently back to my I was referred to Connect Health by my normal training!


Download the full Port of Tyne case study