Building on the MSK health lessons of the pandemic

Andrew Bennett reflects on the collaboration of the musculoskeletal community in response to Covid-19

Andrew Bennett
Andrew Bennett is national clinical director musculoskeletal conditions NHS England and Improvement

The MSK community should take pride in its collective response to the Covid-19 pandemic. We rapidly united to co-produce our response and adopt new ways of working. 

The NHS is now working hard to restore MSK services provision in primary, community and secondary care in collaboration with colleagues across mental health, social services and the third sector.  

However, there are significant challenges ahead. We must adapt to meet more complex clinical needs, caused by Covid-19 and the emerging impact of post Covid syndrome on MSK health, along with the effects of social isolation, health system disruption and the economic impact. We must also address the existing challenges that were facing healthcare pre-pandemic, as outlined in the NHS Long-Term Plan, and deliver on these ambitions and those within the 2021/22 operational planning guidance.

I believe that with every challenge there is an opportunity and as we continue to recover services this is an opportune time for us, as a community, to rebuild back differently – to improve MSK services now and for the future. We want to build on the success of our collaborative approach, to improve the quality and value of provision to enable best MSK health for all.

We aim to do this through the BestMSK Healthcare Collaborative, an NHS England and Improvement programme, which has collaboration at the heart of its ethos. As part of the wider National Pathway Improvement Programme and aligned with Getting It Right First Time (GIRFT) this exciting national programme will provide focus to improving MSK health for all.

I encourage you all to get involved – visit the BestMSK Health Collaborative platform on FutureNHS for more information. I will be running an interactive session at this month’s vPUK where you can find out more, share your views and ask questions. 

  • Andrew Bennett is national clinical director musculoskeletal conditions NHS England and Improvement and consultant physiotherapist at Sutton Health and Care Alliance, Epsom and St Helier NHS Trust 

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