Improved support for local patients with musculoskeletal conditions

Support for people in East Sussex who need treatment for muscle, joint and bone conditions will soon be available closer to home.

A new NHS service for musculoskeletal (MSK) conditions will see patients being treated in dedicated MSK hubs in Crowborough, Seaford and Eastbourne when it launches towards the end of this year. The new service will also have clinics in Lewes, Uckfield, Heathfield and Hailsham.

Eastbourne, Hailsham and Seaford CCG and High Weald Lewes Havens Clinical Commissioning Groups have named Sussex MSK Partnership, a partnership of local health organisations, as preferred bidder.

Musculoskeletal services (MSK) include any service that looks at a patient’s bones, joints and muscles. To ensure joined-up care, it includes all the assessment and diagnostic work to determine what condition a patient has and then the treatment that they may require such as physiotherapy, rheumatology, planned orthopaedic surgery, pain management and podiatry. Emergency or trauma related MSK treatment or care will continue to be delivered as usual in hospitals.

CCGs have spoken to patients and carers and, together with local GPs, other clinicians and patient representatives, have designed a high quality and effective integrated MSK service that will meet the needs of local people.

The Sussex MSK Partnership brings together local healthcare experts from primary care, physical and mental health. It is a local not-for-profit consortium including Brighton and Hove Integrated Care Service, Horder Healthcare, Sussex Community NHS Trust and Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust.

Its new service will see teams of different health specialists managing people’s care all the way from diagnosis to treatment. People will have more access to care outside of hospitals with a hub and spoke model which will allow people to use clinics offering physiotherapy x-ray, ultrasound and MRI scanners in hubs at Horder Healthcare sites in Seaford, Crowborough and Eastbourne. Further services will be available in Lewes, Uckfield, Heathfield and Hailsham.

The Partnership also draws support from local and national experts in MSK with the National Rheumatoid Arthritis Society (NRAS) providing expertise and materials for the service, and local hospital trusts, including East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust, Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals NHS Trust and Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust.  Scans and x-rays will be co-ordinated by Medical Imaging Partnership (MIP).

The CCGs will now be working together with the Sussex MSK Partnership to plan the implementation and roll out of the new service which is expected to go live in October 2014. In the interim period patients should continue using existing services in the same way.

This particular procurement process does not affect patients in Hastings and Rother. This particular procurement process does not affect patients in Hastings and Rother. A community MSK service was procured by NHS Sussex (with the support of the shadow Hastings and Rother CCG) for patients in this area in 2012 in order to respond to local priorities including reducing waiting times and providing services closer to patients’ homes.

A spokesperson for Eastbourne, Hailsham and Seaford and High Weald Lewes Havens CCG said: “Patients with musculoskeletal conditions have told us that they can sometimes find themselves having to wait a significant period of time for their care, and treatment can sometimes vary depending on where and who they are seen by. By introducing a more integrated and multidisciplinary approach to the way patients are referred, diagnosed and treated we hope we can improve patient’s health more quickly and in a more coordinated and joined up fashion.”

Rachel Dixon, Joint Clinical Director, Sussex MSK Partnership said: “We will provide consistent, high quality care for patients with musculoskeletal conditions, including both physical and mental health needs. We will make sure patients with musculoskeletal conditions get access to the support they need which will be, wherever possible, together in one place closer to where they live.”

Page last reviewed on 20/08/2014