Supporting the transformation and optimisation of Rheumatology pathway

Download our Community Rheumatology Services Brochure

Supporting the transformation and optimisation of Rheumatology pathway

Download our Community Rheumatology Services Brochure

Connect Health Community Rheumatology Services

Connect Health is a leading community services healthcare provider and the UK’s largest community MSK and pain independent healthcare provider. We provide community rheumatology services, staffed by consultant rheumatologists, physiotherapy and nurse clinical specialists. Oversight and governance of our services is provided by consultant rheumatologists to ensure patients remain safe with positive outcomes and patient experience.


The Challenge

Long waits 

• Rheumatology departments in secondary care are resource challenged resulting in long waiting times.

• Delays for patients with unstable disease cause worse outcomes.

Failing to access and meet standards

• Many services are failing to achieve set standards, for example, in the national early inflammatory Arthritis Audit 52% of patients don’t have an annual review.

Rheumatology referrals could be managed in community

• 40% of noninflammatory patients and stable patients with inflammatory arthritis can be well managed in Community MSK services (British Society for Rheumatology).

Anxieties on community capability

• Misconception that community based services can’t manage patients efficiently and safely.

• MDT workforce is well-established in the community.


Why Connect Health?

Trusted partner

Connect Health has worked with NHS Trusts over recent years to reduce demands on secondary care activity. We’ve been providing solutions in the MSK and pain pathways for three decades with proven benefits to patients and secondary care pathway partners.

Service transformation

We deliver sustained transformation through our dedication to patient care, sophisticated infrastructure, digital tools, highly advanced clinical and operational data insight and change methodology.


Working within the community, we can ensure that onward patient referrals are appropriate, maximising quality and operational efficiency.


We are dedicated to helping the NHS pathway perform at its highest level and in all aspects we ensure the key stakeholders, namely patients, staff and taxpayers, get the best outcome.


How does Connect Health help?

Community-based Consultant Rheumatology Clinicians ensure the right patients are rapidly seen in secondary care after GP/Community referral – inflammatory/connective tissue presentations are referred urgently to hospital Rheumatologists but non-inflammatory are assessed in our community service.

In most of our services, we operate a two way system whereby patients referred directly to secondary care but deemed unsuitable for hospital based care are referred by the hospital based consultants to the community Rheumatology service. This sort of collaborative working improves the patient journey, reduces waiting times and improves outcomes.

With Consultant Rheumatologists working in the community service and MDT meetings with secondary care, stable patients can be managed safely outside the hospital service, leaving more time for acute management in secondary care.

Clinicians who are part of the Rheumatology team, take part in weekly MDT meetings in the community to discuss complex cases with the consultant Rheumatologists working in the Community to ensure the best possible care is delivered to the patient.

We have worked with local Consultant Rheumatologists to map pathways where safe community care is provided with clear thresholds for referral back to secondary care.

Connect Health has a truly MDT workforce including Medical consultants, General practitioners with special interest, advance practice physiotherapists, advanced practice occupational therapists and rheumatology specialist nurses all seeing their own Rheumatology caseloads within scope of practice.


Our Denosumab services

Connect Health provide an Osteoporosis service which includes 2 specialist nurses delivering a treatment pathway promptly and effectively.

Once a patient has started their Denosumab injection treatment they will be referred to Connect Health where we provide a high-quality, safe and effective pathway supported by our team of specialist nurses and Rheumatology consultants.

Patients will have access to our team’s support if they have any questions or concerns with their Osteoporosis or medication.


Key features of our offer


Helpful resources

Catch up on our Rheumatology related webinars

The Future of Managing Rheumatology Conditions in the Community

Community rheumatology services – now essential for 2022/23


Connect Health is a leading provider and enabler of community services, including: MSK (musculoskeletal), Mental health, Chronic pain, Rehabilitation, Rheumatology, First Contact Practitioners (FCP) and Long Covid services

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Patient feedback

Karen explains how the Pain Management Programme has equipped her with the necessary learning to manage the pain and continue living her best life.

We speak with Sharon around her experience being part of the Pain Management Programme currently supporting those living with persistent pain across Wolverhampton.

Monica had a hip replacement 3 months ago and within 6 weeks, returned her walking sticks.

“I really enjoy coming to the gym. I can really feel the difference. The physios keep me straight and give me the confidence to go on.” Monica, Merton

We hear from Diana who suffers from chronic pain and has attended the Connect Health Pain Management Programme in Wolverhampton.

Kelly, from Hertfordshire, was suffering from depression and anxiety when she came to Connect Health. Her counsellor was able to help her to find her way.

Geraldine Vinall, 75 from Milton Keynes, explains how living with back and neck pain all her adult life has been transformed by attending the Connect Health group exercise classes at her local gym.

Tina, 47, was suffering from PTSD, depression, low self worth and feelings of a loss of identity alongside ME. But with the help of her counsellor she was able to talk, be listened to and was offered tips and advice

Petra Jahn, 63 from Milton Keynes tells us, after 5 operations on her hip and being off-work for 4 years, how her health is gradually improving through group exercise classes.

Sylvie, 46, from Lincolnshire tells how Connect Health’s Pain Management Programme (PMP) has helped her enjoy life again.

PhysioNow detected a possible significant condition at the end of normal working hours, enabling Joe to receive quicker access to clinical advice and urgent investigations.

Jacky received her diagnosis just 12 days after completing her initial assessment thanks to PhysioNow®.

Retired medical secretary, Barbara, explains how a niggling back pain flare up was solved with physiotherapy advice, without having to leave her home.

Terry Fisher, 67 from Darlington, tells us about his journey, from being in a coma and unable to walk to being back on the golf course with help from Connect Health and the Healthy Darlington Programme


Back to NHS services

What's new

Case Studies
Connect Health’s Counselling service allows patients to be heard and feel like they have someone to talk to.

Kelly, from Hertfordshire, was suffering from depression and anxiety when she came to Connect Health. Her counsellor was able to help her to find her way.

My split role as an FCP and Team Lead is the perfect balance

Laura McColl, First Contact Practitioner and FCP Team Lead, explains how she was inspired to become a Physiotherapist after seeing her mother’s recovery journey, and how she has developed her career and is now able to help even more people.

Chronic pain is no joke – but event brings fresh perspective

North East healthcare workers join pioneering Australian scientist at Newcastle comedy club