Moving forward from disjointed MSK services to evidence-based integrated pathways

The last in the series of 2019, Healthcare professionals from across Yorkshire and the North of England joined musculoskeletal (MSK), pain and medical experts, to debate, network and share best practice on treating MSK conditions.

18 December 2019

NHS experts join forces in Yorkshire to debate a mindset shift around MSK management in the UK

Healthcare professionals from across Yorkshire and the North of England joined musculoskeletal (MSK), pain and medical experts in Leeds at the end of November, to debate, network and share best practice on treating MSK conditions, which affect one in four people in the UK and are responsible for 30.8million lost working days each year.

Experts from Teesside University, Leeds Beckett University and Connect Health, the UK’s largest independent provider of integrated community MSK services, set-up the event in order to address the challenges faced by MSK, pain and rheumatology professionals while exploring the changing commissioning landscape and showcasing the very best evidence-based MSK pathways.

Moving Forward – How to commission evidence-based MSK pathways, included a day-long programme of high-profile speakers, a panel debate, Q&A sessions, and networking. It comes hot on the heels of the successful Moving Forward South event in which discussions covered topics relating to the need for cultural change in the industry – particularly focussing on the need to bring MSK services together to standardise evidence based practice, discussing how pain is “not fixed by medicines”, why commissioners need to understand the financial and quality-driven benefits of endorsing and promoting comprehensive self-management programmes and the issues of inappropriate admissions to secondary care.

Andrew Cuff, Consultant Physiotherapist & Clinical Lead, Connect Health who Co-Chaired Moving Forward said:

“Every year 30.8m working days are lost due to musculoskeletal conditions, costing the NHS £4.76 billion annually*, making it the second leading cause of sickness absence and the third largest area of NHS spending.

“Following the positive feedback and healthy discussions that arose from our first event, this event also asked big questions around MSK pathway efficiency, evolution of services and patient outcomes. It gave a valuable opportunity to debate the best approaches in the delivery of high quality, responsive integrated community MSK services, to further improve the experience for patients.”

Held at The Studio, Riverside West in Leeds, speakers included:

  • Dr James Milligan, Head of Subject (Therapeutic and Rehabilitation Sciences), Leeds Beckett University
  • Professor Denis Martin, Head of Centre for Rehabilitation, Exercise and Sports Science, Teesside University
  • Dr Ian Bernstein, Clinical Lead for MSK Transformation, NW London Health and Care Partnership Musculoskeletal Physician, Connect Health
  • Maureen Taylor, Director of Business Development, Northumberland County Council
  • Pete Moore, UK Pain Champion, educator, author and broadcaster of the Pain Toolkit
  • Kate Thompson, Senior Physiotherapy Lecturer, Leeds Beckett University
  • Dr Nadeem Ghafoor, GP and Lead for Musculoskeletal Services, North Kirklees CCG
  • Helen Liddell, Consultant Pharmacist, Connect Health

Presentations are available to download here

*Source: State of Musculoskeletal Health 2018, Versus Arthritis



About Connect Health

Connect Health is the largest, independent provider of integrated community MSK (musculoskeletal) services (including orthopaedics, pain, rheumatology and Occupational Health) in the UK, serving over 350k NHS patients pa across 26 CCGs and 100+ 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. For more information please visit

Teesside University

Teesside University’s School of Health & Social Care delivers a range of courses which meet today’s health and social care needs. It promotes evidence-based practice, giving students and graduates the most up to date knowledge and skills to deliver care. Research within the School focusses on rehabilitation and exercise sciences and public health and interdisciplinary work is carried out across the University and in partnership with external bodies and groups, such as the NHS, voluntary and private businesses.

About Leeds Beckett University

Leeds Beckett and Connect Health have signed a memorandum of understanding to establish a clinical – academic organisational partnership. The collaboration harnesses the clinical, educational and research expertise of both organisations to advance the development of physiotherapy and related musculoskeletal therapies.