In this issue of Aspire we caught up with our Integrated Musculoskeletal (iMSK) team to find out how they are doing since the launch of the new service last October. Musculoskeletal services (if you don’t know) relates to parts of the body that give people the ability to move.
Conditions that might need treating are pain in body joints, ligaments, muscles, nerves, tendons and structures that support the limbs, neck and back; so things like arthritis, back pain and osteosporosis.
Previously patients experiencing pain or discomfort might be referred by their GP to one particular service - physiotherapy for example - and if that didn’t improve things, they would simply be re-referred back to their GP and the whole process would start again with referral to an alternative service, to an orthopaedic surgeon for example. This whole process for some patients could take a long time, during which they may go on to experience other problems such as anxiety or depression. The whole ethos behind the new service is an integrated approach looking at the patient as a whole, with the team of wider professionals working much more closely together. This represents a new way of working, to give patients the best outcomes and experience possible.
By treating the patient as a whole - so taking into account their lifestyle and other factors - more traditional surgical interventions can often be avoided which we know do not always lead to improved outcomes, can often be avoided.
Involving patients more in their treatment, with a focus on supporting them to understand more about their condition / what’s causing them pain or discomfort, and encouraging them to take more responsibility for managing their condition is helping to develop a much more responsive and innovative service.
The team have implemented lots of changes to the service to aid this integration as well as working towards reducing patient waiting times, with huge success. This was recognised recently by their success at the Staff Achievement Awards, where they received the prestigious ‘Chief Executive’s’ award.
The service has received some really positive patient feedback through our Friends and Family Test. A new website has also been launched to support the service - see www.surreyimsk.com - which includes much more information on our specialist teams, how to take more responsibility for managing your condition with links to self-help apps and other helpful information.