Parliamentary launch of Manifesto for Reforming Musculoskeletal Practice – Improving Outcomes, Changing Lives.

Sir Mike Penning, MP for Hemel Hempstead, hosted a Parliamentary Reception in the House of Commons on 16 October, celebrating the launch of an important new report for the sector “The Manifesto for Reforming MSK Practice”.

21 October 2019

From l-r Jack Chew, Sir Mike Penning MP, Neil, Tina, Paul Allan

This prestigious event marks the cumulation of 2+ years of activity, since the inception of #TheBigRs –Reasoning, Responsibility and Reform – the grass-roots MSK think-tank that has brought together innovators in the Musculoskeletal (MSK) industry with the objective of laying out a roadmap to a reformed MSK industry we can all be proud of.

Founded by Jack Chew with the backing of Connect Health, the event saw the launch of the Manifesto for Reform (MfR), developed by around 70 volunteers working on chapters which have proposed policies in the following five key areas – Evidence, Governance, Excellence, Education and Influence.

Sir Mike Penning MP commented As an ex fireman who still plays rugby at the age of 62, I’ve seen my fair share of physios. After being told I couldn’t return to work after an accident at the age of 31, I know how it feels to be written off. I’m pleased to have embarked on an alternative career with the support of some fantastic rehabilitation. This piece of work shines a light on reforming physiotherapy – a sector that is in such demand and makes such a difference.”

Paul Allan, Director NHS Services at Connect Health added “MSK conditions significantly affect peoples’ lives, with 24% of the population consulting their GP annually with MSK problems. Connect Health has become the leading integrated MSK community provider supporting 10% of England’s population living with MSK problems. We have always strived to improve patient care and searched for optimum quality and we should all be impressed at the fantastic working group leaders and members who have contributed to the development of this Manifesto.”

Jack Chew, founder Chews Health and MSKR Director explained: “The MSK Manifesto for Reform is the best efforts of many passionate clinicians, patients, educators and policy makers to demonstrate consensus in a time of disagreement; unity in a time of division and bravery in a time of cowardice. We invite you to join our movement to help shape the future of MSK practice. Because if not us, then who? And if not now, then when?


Patient contributor Tina gave her story:

“I live with persistent pain following a manual handling injury 11 years ago. For the first 4 years I had a range of health care including surgery, injections and physiotherapy but I was still in pain and finding life very difficult. Then I received help from a physiotherapist who treated me more individually and holistically. He helped me to understand my condition and to understand pain. He helped me to become better able to live well with pain. A year ago I started to write a blog about my experiences of pain. I found a lot of people were interested in my story because they could relate to what I was saying. Following the BigRs conference last year I was invited to join the Clinical Governance working group. I was empowered to work in true partnership with the physiotherapists on the group. I was given a voice.”


Finally, Neil Hopper described his journey:

“I’ve been a vascular surgeon for 6 years in Cornwall. In April 2019 I felt unwell and woke up in hospital after falling unconscious. My feet were blue. I contracted sepsis and in May I had my legs amputated below the knee. I was sent home with 3 photocopied sheets of exercises which were designed for elderly patients – I was 43 – and the exercises weren’t right for me. I was getting my new legs in 10 weeks and fell into a downward spiral, feeling very depressed. My wife got me motivated to see a private physio and he drew up a personal plan. I got fit and he gave me goals like playing in the garden with my children or going to the beach. I joined a gym and I felt my strength improving day by day. I was told it would take 6-12 months to walk and I’d be back to work in 18 months. When my new prosthetic legs arrived, I was walking in the first hour, in the second hour I walked up hill and when I asked to be taught to run in the 4th hour, they freaked out. Amazingly I returned to work last week. This is what patient centred care is all about and what the Manifesto really focuses on. 5 months after my operation I can jog. Think about all the money this has saved the NHS, I’m back in work and contributing to society.”

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