Transforming musculoskeletal care in Workington

A pilot scheme in Workington has saved more than 150 GP appointments in the first two months for patients with muscle and joint problems. 

The scheme sees a Specialist Musculoskeletal (MSK) Practitioner working closely with GPs to ensure patients are seen quickly and by the right person. All Workington GP surgeries are involved so if a patient calls their surgery with a muscle or joint problem they can be offered an appointment with the Specialist MSK Practitioner based at Workington Community Hospital without the need to see a GP or an onward referral to an acute hospital outpatient clinic. 

Dr Niall McGreevy, Workington GP, has already noticed the benefits: “This is a very welcome addition to the range of services available at Workington Community Hospital. As well as providing expert advice and treatment to local patients, it helps by saving a significant number of GP appointments that become available for other medical problems.”

It also means that treatment can be received closer to home, Anu Singh, Specialist MSK Practitioner, explains: “This new way of working allows us to provide more timely advice and offer a wide range of treatment options locally such as injections, imaging and blood tests. We can also refer patients to other services, such as podiatry, physiotherapy or for specialist care when appropriate.”

Mr David MacKay, Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon at North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust, added: “By working together we can provide rapid access to physiotherapy specialists, closely supported by Orthopaedic surgeons. It means expert care is provided quickly and more locally and those requiring surgery can be identified and fast tracked to the surgeons.”

It has been well received by patients; Rebecca Bechelli from Workington has used the new service and explained: “I wasn’t aware of the service when I called my GP surgery but I’ve been really impressed with it all. I normally see a rheumatologist in Bath for my condition but I was in a lot of pain and had a while until my next appointment so I tried my GP. The surgery referred me to the MSK service and it was great – they managed to fit me in that day and were really knowledgeable about my condition. The aftercare advice has been brilliant too; it’s great to know this is now available on my doorstep.”

This service has been developed by the Workington Integrated Care Community.