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MSK Service praised for “innovation and a culture of ongoing quality improvement” after positive CQC inspection

12 June 2018

Connect Health, the leading independent provider of community musculoskeletal (MSK) services, is delighted to receive an extremely positive CQC report, following a series of announced inspections across the country in addition to the head office in Newcastle, during April and May 2018.

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The service was praised across all areas:

  • SAFE – Its safety policies were regularly reviewed and communicated to staff, with systems in place to keep patients safe and safeguarded
  • EFFECTIVE – The service had good systems to keep clinicians up to date with current evidence-based practice, staff were involved in the development of NICE guidelines and the safe use of innovative approaches to care were encouraged
  • CARING – Staff treated patients with kindness, respect and compassion, with the vast majority of the 29 patient CQC comment cards being positive, in line with NHS Friends and Family Test and other feedback received.
  • RESPONSIVE – The service understood the needs of its population and tailored its services (for example self-referral to the service, choice of venues and clinician). Patients were able to access care and treatment from the service within an acceptable timescale for their needs.
  • WELL-LED – Leaders had an inspiring shared purpose, strove to deliver and motivated staff to succeed. Leaders had the experience, capacity and skills to deliver the service’s strategy, and the service had a clear vision; “to help people improve their quality of life” and safe innovation was celebrated.

Founder and Executive Chair, Prof Andrew Walton commented:

“I would like to recognise the tremendous commitment and enthusiasm shown by staff across the whole organisation during this inspection period and beyond. The CQC report follows a series of activities that demonstrates our ongoing commitment to quality, having recently achieved quality management system accreditation to ISO 9001 and SEQOHS (Safe, Effective, Quality Occupational Health Service) accreditation. We remain committed to exceeding patient and customer expectations as well as statutory and regulatory requirements.”


Dr Graeme Wilkes, Sport & Exercise Medicine Consultant and Connect’s Medical Director added:

“I was delighted to see CQC recognition for our quality and operational information which is being used to improve performance, citing that an in-house data warehouse system had been developed, providing managers with real-time performance information.”


Inspectors commented positively about Connect’s 10/10 clinical guidelines, saying

“The service’s clinicians had developed clinical guidelines covering the ten most common conditions treated by staff. A traffic light system was used to show which treatment, based on evidence, was the most appropriate, enabling staff and patients to have confidence that the right treatment was given each time.”

They also noted that one of Connect’s clinical leaders had been recruited to the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) guidelines committee to develop guidelines on hip, knee and shoulder replacements.

Lisa Davidson, Connect’s HR Director explained

“I was particularly impressed by the CQC comments relating to our inspiring leadership, praising leaders across all levels for being {visible and approachable, working closely with staff and others to make sure they prioritised compassionate and inclusive leadership}. The report noted our four values (people centred, pioneering, dynamic and quality) saying they were embedded into everyday processes.”

In addition, inspectors noted the service had worked with a local university to carry out a five-year retrospective study which looked at the outcomes of patients who had received treatment. The EQ5D study summary is available here.

For access to the full CQC report click here.

For more information contact


About Connect

Connect Health is the largest specialised independent provider of community musculoskeletal (MSK) services (including orthopaedics, pain and rheumatology) in the UK serving over 250k NHS patients pa across 18 CCGs and 75 businesses. Connect effectively and efficiently delivers care in a lower cost community setting, transforming services around specific quality and financial objectives and dramatically reducing waiting times and improving access to treatment.

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