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New integrated musculoskeletal service in Lancashire

A new integrated musculoskeletal service (IMSK) for Chorley, South Ribble and Greater Preston has been commissioned to help improve the health of people with muscle and joint problems. 

From 1 August, Lancashire Care NHS Foundation Trust will be working with its partners to deliver the service, with a focus on prevention and early intervention.

The service seeks to improve outcomes and experience, reduce variation for people who have problems with their muscles or joints using guidance, education and new technology, and includes teams that will be able to deal with community physiotherapy, rheumatology, musculoskeletal issues, chronic fatigue and persistent pain.

Lancashire Care will deliver the service in partnership with Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, Ascenti, an independent provider of physiotherapy services, and Trainer Rx, a telerehabilitation and recovery program that enables people with musculoskeletal injuries to understand their condition and how to manage it.

Dr Gora Bangi, Chair of NHS Chorley and South Ribble CCG, said: This service will provide a better experience for patients, who will be seen and treated in the right place for their need, with a smoother transition between services.

“Throughout the procurement process, we had input from patients, clinicians and the bidders themselves to help design a service that reflects the wants and needs of service users and healthcare professionals.

“Patients will continue to receive high quality, clinically safe care in locations that are closer to patients’ homes, and we look forward to working with Lancashire Care to implement and develop the service."

Dr Elizabeth MacPhie, Rheumatology Consultant at Lancashire Care NHS Foundation Trust, said: “We are delighted to be working with our partners who share a similar ethos and values to us and who employ local and international experts when it comes to rheumatic and musculoskeletal disorders and health care. 

“The service will provide a new and integrated model of care with a special focus on prevention and early intervention. It will embody a culture of health promotion and wellness, taking a holistic approach to patient needs. This is an exciting project and we are looking forward to making a difference to people.”

Karen Partington, Chief Executive at Lancashire Teaching Hospitals said: “We are delighted to be launching this new service which will provide additional support for patients with rheumatic and musculoskeletal disorders in our communities. At Lancashire Teaching Hospitals, we are committed to getting involved with projects such as these to improve the care that is available for our patients."

The service is valued at £7 million and will run for five years. RMDs are common and comprise over 200 conditions that affect joints, bones, muscles, rarer autoimmune diseases and back pain. They are often progressive and mostly cause some form of pain that over time may become chronic. They are the single biggest cause of disability in adults and have a major impact on people’s health and quality of life, often impairing normal, physical and social functioning.

RMDs affect over 10 million adults in the UK. An estimated 8-10 million people in UK live with arthritis and 40 percent of all adults aged 70 or over have osteoarthritis of the knee. 60 percent of people who are on long-term sick leave cite rheumatic or musculoskeletal problems as the reason. One third of people with rheumatoid arthritis will have stopped working within two years of onset and half will be unable to work within 10 years. These economic costs of RMDs in relation to absence from work are estimated at over £7 billion per year.

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