Solving the puzzle of Musculoskeletal Service transformation

In the latest of a series of blogs from NHS England’s Long Term Conditions Team, the National Clinical Lead for Musculoskeletal Services looks at how current programmes of work can offer solutions to the challenges faced by commissioners and providers seeking to improve outcomes for patients.

I was asked to write a blog to raise the profile of my MSK work supported by the Long-Term Conditions Team and, through the cryptic labyrinth of various schemes and initiatives, share with you my thoughts on how we can support sustainable, cost-effective transformation whilst still championing the more person-centred approach.

Easy task right?

Increasingly we are faced with the challenge of implementing population level interventions in a bid to tackle unwarranted variation within our local areas.

At the same time many of us are striving to strike a balance that enables us to deliver care more holistically – that is in a way that empowers patients, supports families and carers and promotes decisions led by the needs and wants of the of those who are specialists in their own care, the patients.

It’s not always possible to be all things at once. Nor is it possible to come up with all the ideas yourself.

Enter our solution! The MSK Knowledge Network is designed with the overarching aim to enable improvements by supporting better communication between sectors and setting a programme that promotes shared problem solving and shared learning, both cross-professionally and cross-organisationally.

One way we are seeking to do this is to draw the strands of work beating through the hearts of our partner organisations together through a programme of national webinars. From government funded bodies to voluntary sector charities the wealth of experience and knowledge within our MSK community is breath-taking.

The investment in improving the outcomes and experience for patients with MSK disorders alongside the initiatives aiming to increase prevention and strengthen resilience is inspiring. The chance to share ideas, challenge preconceptions and support new ways of thinking is something we are really proud of.

But we still face our own challenges. The question for us is how to develop a sustainable network; one that continues to build momentum and holds the interest of its members. To do this I and the MSK Programme Team will be working to empower networks established a regional level with a string of events due to take place from the end of September 2016.

So this is my plea for volunteers who want to lead the design of a regional event, set the agenda so it is truly locally applicable, aware of area specific barriers and in touch with local enablers. If you think this might be for you, please get in touch for more information about how you can get involved.

Reflecting on how my experience has shaped my view of the puzzle that is the ever developing landscape of transformation in the NHS, I notice success means different things to different people. For me it is creating a programme of work with such merit that it can become self-sustaining.

And to others? Well I differ to this analogy: three Orthopaedic Surgeons took five days to do a jig-saw and were proud of their achievement. When asked why they were so proud they said because it said 3-5 years on the box.

For now I’ll just keep hoping the bookings for the other (less funny) Peter Kay keep rolling in so I can continue to raise the profile of the excellent work underway across the MSK community!

Peter Kay is National Clinical Director for Musculoskeletal Services for NHS England.

He is a Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon at Wrightington Hospital, Lancashire and a former President of the British Orthopaedic Association (2011), British Hip Society (2008) and British Orthopaedics Trainees Association (1992).

Peter is also Honorary Clinical Professor of Orthopaedics at the University of Manchester and Clinical Professor at the University Central Lancashire and currently serves on the Council of The Royal College of Surgeons of England.

He has produced research publications (scientific and popular) and presentations on orthopaedics and trauma, health service management, modernisation and medico-legal aspects of orthopaedics and trauma, clinical networks, integrated care, workforce development and specialist commissioning.

His clinical interests include hip and knee replacement surgery, revision joint replacement surgery for loosening and infection and knee arthroscopy, multidisciplinary approach to arthroplasty services.

Managerially he has been Director of Research, Clinical Director, Divisional Chairman for MSK (responsible for elective orthopaedics, trauma and rheumatology) and Associate Medical Director in his own Trust (Wrightington, Wigan and Leigh NHS FT).

He has three years’ experience as a full Trust Board Member up to a successful Foundation Trust application and is the clinical lead for the Specialist Orthopaedic Hospital Alliance in the UK.

He has campaigned nationally and internationally for effective and equitable commissioning for musculoskeletal services across the whole of healthcare.