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New service for joints, muscles and rheumatics launches 2nd July

NHS Wirral Clinical Commissioning Group has awarded Wirral University Teaching Hospital the contract to provide a single point of access service for musculoskeletal conditions (e.g joints, muscle and rheumatics). 

The Musculoskeletal Integrated Triage Service will launch on Monday 2nd July 2018 in community and hospital care settings across Wirral. 

The service will work across NHS organisations to provide the full range of musculoskeletal treatment, including:

  • Physiotherapy
  • Podiatry
  • Pain management
  • Rheumatology
  • Elective orthopaedics

If required, referrals will be made to wider providers for certain treatment. 

The service will:

  • Simplify referral processes for GPs and patients - avoiding multiple visits to the GP for results and referrals
  • Improve the patient experience, by introducing Patient Management Plans and ensuring patients receive prompt assessment and treatment
  • Provide a mix of community and hospital based provision, which includes a choice, in line with NHS guidelines
  • Improve the clinical outcomes for patients, and work with patients until they are ready for discharge

Experts will work together to ensure patients receive the most appropriate treatment to meet their needs, and there will be access to wider services such as diagnostic tests and appliances.

There will also be a new advice service to help patients manage their condition.

Dr Paula Cowan, Medical Director, NHS Wirral Clinical Commissioning Group said:

“In bringing these services together, we want to give patients easier access to a range of experts who will work together to ensure you receive the most appropriate treatment. A single point of access means a simpler service, avoiding multiple visits to your GP to receive results and referrals. We hope that the new service will make the patient experience smoother.”

What will be different?

From 2nd July 2018, for any musculoskeletal conditions, your GP will refer you to the Musculoskeletal Integrated Triage Service provided by Wirral University NHS Foundation Trust. The referral will be reviewed within 48 hours (24 hours for urgent referrals) by a specialist physiotherapist.

Your referral may then be sent straight to a particular service to see a consultant e.g. Orthopaedics, Rheumatology or Pain clinic. In this case, you will be contacted by a booking clerk to make your choice of provider and consultant and to book an appointment.

If the specialist thinks that you will benefit from seeing a therapist (e.g. Physiotherapy or Podiatry), you will be given an appointment at a location convenient for you. For specialist physiotherapy, this may be a hospital based clinic.

In some cases, you may benefit from a face to face assessment with an advanced musculoskeletal physiotherapist or a specialist doctor. You will be encouraged to discuss treatment options and ask questions, before receiving advice or a referral for treatment.

To complement appointment based diagnostics and treatments, a patient support line will be available for advice throughout treatment or following discharge.



Locations of community clinics (map) 


Further information is available from the provider's website: