The Connect Health story

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The Connect Health story

Find out more Get in touch


The determination to raise the quality and efficiency of MSK and pain community service provision across whole systems

In 1993 a fundholding GP in South Shields, approached Andrew Walton, Connect’s founder, to seek an innovative solution to what remains a common, systemic problem; poor use of rehabilitation and long waits for physiotherapy. Resulting services are often highly medicalised and interventional using excessive diagnostics, treatments without clear evidence and with high cost and little outcome data. High public expectation for diagnostics and passive interventions rather than active rehabilitation results in poorly sustained benefits and patients re-presenting to their GP with chronic diseases and pain.

Connect has consistently been at the forefront of innovation. Integration for Connect in all its local pathways means closer working with primary, community, third sector and secondary care partners.

The key to consistent optimum outcomes and cost effectiveness is through the transformation of behaviour in the pathway. Connect has developed a methodology for mobilisation of new services which consistently delivers the expected improvements in performance.

We have invested around £2m over the last few years to develop an infrastructure with an exclusive focus on delivery of high quality, responsive integrated community MSK services with the aim of optimising the experience for patients, taxpayers and colleagues.

Our innovations


Connect Founded

Profession Andrew Walton founded Connect Health, now the largest specialised independent provider of community musculoskeletal (MSK) services (including orthopaedics, pain and rheumatology) in the UK.


Physio on the high street

Connect were the first to introduce this “shop front” approach which is common practice now. Prior to this, private physios were largely based at home.



Connect were the first to introduce the choice of self-referral. Rather than having to wait for a GP appointment and possibility of inappropriate referrals, this was patients receive direct specialist support.


PhysioLine telephone triage

This brought about a cultural change in patients and physios with 25% of patients just needing a phone call. Reducing the average number of appointments in an episode of care down from 6 to 4 whilst maintaining excellent outcomes.



Clinical Assesment and Treatmentservices were given official backing via a new Department of Health MSK framework and stimulated growth in Connect’s specialist and advanced practitioner model.est-pilot.


Newcastle West Pilot

Ground-breaking pathways evaluation showing improved outcomes and reduced costs



Connect was an early adopter of technology and became paperless in 2010. Better use of technology such as the provision of interactive remote services, electronic patient records, apps and the use of Skype or Facetime to encourage interaction.



A new approach which wides the thinking around things that influence recovery. Functional testing and exploration of psychosocial barriers provide the baseline for rehabilitation programmes, which include both physical rehabilitation and education.


LIMS (Large Independent MSK Service Providers)

Andrew Walton recognised that larger independent providers were significant in driving change and founded LIMS, a fledging trade association, which represents over 90% of the largest MSK providers in the UK.


Business Intelligence

Connect’s use of data to improve performance and patient care is second to none, through collection process and storage within the live data warehouse. This translates into driving clinician perform to achieve better care and adherence to evidence based practice.


EQ5D evaluation

The largest multi-centre study published of community physiotherapy to date – University of Northumbria retrospective, multi-centre study of EQ5D outcomes for 4,000+ NHS patients receiving treatment from Connect.physiotherapy


Pain Revolution

Connect deliver services for patients with persistent pain as part of broader MSK pathways. Collaborating with Prof Lorimer Moseley, an eminent clinical scientist, we have brought the Pain Revolution from rural Australia to the UK for the first time.


See our Company Overview here

This aims to bring Connect Health to life, in terms of the services we provide, the patients we support, the people that work here and the importance of what we do.