musculoskeletal services network

Musculoskeletal (MSK) Knowledge Network

Clinical networks have received an increasing amount of attention and recognition over recent years, not least because they enable different stakeholders to work better together across boundaries and systems within the NHS (primary, secondary and tertiary care), and across social care and the voluntary sector. This approach is supported by a considerable body of evidence that indicates how effective collaboration can lead to substantial clinical, service delivery and quality of life gains.

MSK Clinical Networks project has been developed by ARMA over several years and since 2015 is being actively delivered in partnership with NHS England. Its focus is on bringing knowledge and people together to improve outcomes for people with MSK conditions in England.

The MSK Knowledge Network is a key part of the overall project. This is a forum for peer-to-peer learning, information-sharing and improvement, and it is open to all commissioners and clinicians with an interest in working collaboratively to deliver person-centred, coordinated care for all people with MSK conditions. Please refer to our Clinical Networks FAQ for more information about the project.

Why Join?

Joining the Network means being part of a movement for change. It means being able to learn from and share with other CCGs which have established networks, and others which have developed innovative ways of providing coordinated, person-centred care and addressing unwarranted variation in MSK. It also means being joined to the alliance which represents the MSK community in the UK.

Benefits of the MSK Knowledge Network

  • Meet, share, discuss and learn from other CCGs, commissioners and providers around the country on how to improve MSK care in your area.
  • Identify and engage with regional representatives from key clinical constituencies including orthopaedics, rheumatoogy and physiotherapy.
  • Access key practical resources to support the establishment and functioning of effective MSK clinical networks.
  • Incorporate guidance on best practice from national groups of experts on key issues including workforce and metrics into your local MSK service delivery models.

Joining the Network also provides a means of communication for sharing and continually improving good practice in MSK services.

As the number of CCGs involved in the knowledge network increases, so too will the opportunities for peer support and knowledge exchange with other CCGs, and therefore the value of being an integral part of this movement for change.

Find out more from our FAQs page.


Networks can and do take many forms, and ARMA is not proposing that all CCGs should adopt the same model or approach: the key requirement is a shared commitment to developing networks for the purpose of making MSK care more integrated, more person-centred and more effective.

logo_nhs_choicesARMA is supporting
NHS England’s Declaration for Long-Term Conditions

Please sign up and make a commitment.


Join the Knowledge Network

Click the Register button below to enter your contact details.Peter-Kay-NCDx350



“Networks are the future”

Prof. Peter Kay
National Clinical Director for MSK, NHS England


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Engage with the Knowledge Network

We have a Yammer group – an enterprise social network platform – a means to facilitate a dialogue between commissioners, providers and other key stakeholders in the MSK field on improving outcomes in MSK.

This is the main way that we are encouraging people to engage and share through the MSK Knowledge Network at this time.

Please ‘Click to Join’ (to the right) and you will be sent an invitation via email.


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Resources to help with your network

NHS confederation logoDeveloping MSK Networks Toolkit

This resource pack provides healthcare professionals as well as commissioners and providers of MSK services with a framework for planning and developing a local MSK network, and signposts to a wide range of additional materials which may be useful as they undertake this task.

It has been co-produced with the MSK community, and distils some of the findings of the project to date, providing a practical resource to support CCGs seeking to improve outcomes for all forms of MSK disorders through a “networks” approach and with patients at the heart.

NOS_70Fracture Liaison Services

The FLS Clinical Standards provide the core standards that every FLS should meet to ensure that correct identification, investigation, information, intervention and integration with primary care are achieved, within a framework of quality, to the long-term benefit of fracture patients – the 5IQ approach.

Here you will find links to the standards and to an implementation toolkit.

British Orthopaedic Association Commissioning Guides

The British Orthopaedic Association has published four revised commissioning guides with the Royal College of Surgeons of England (RCS). These guides set out best practice care pathways to assist Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) in designing optimal care for their populations. The guides are:

  • Pain Arising from the Hip in Adults
  • Painful Deformed Great Toe in Adults
  • Painful Osteoarthritis of the Knee
  • Treatment of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Falls Prevention Economic Model

The falls prevention economic model shows in detail how much money could be saved and falls prevented if everyone 65+ identified as at risk of falling was referred to physiotherapy.

It brings together data comes from high-quality sources including the Cochrane Collaboration and the Office for National Statistics. Planners and commissioners using the model can be confident that the conclusions are likely to be nationally representative, but every local area is different so the model is designed for you to input your own data to take account of existing local pathways.

The latest version of the model shows a return on investment of over £4 when £1 is invested in physiotherapy for falls prevention.

Musculoskeletal Calculator

Arthritis Research UK has partnered with Imperial College London to develop the Musculoskeletal Calculator, a prevalence modelling tool for musculoskeletal conditions. For the first time this tool provides estimates of the burden of musculoskeletal conditions to local areas.

Musculoskeletal Health Questionnaire

The MSK-HQ is a short questionnaire that allows people with musculoskeletal conditions (such as arthritis or back pain) to report their symptoms and quality of life in a standardised way.

It was developed jointly by the Arthritis Research UK Primary Care Sciences Research Centre at Keele University and the University of Oxford, co-produced with active participation and feedback from people with arthritis and musculoskeletal conditions, clinicians and academics.

The purpose of the work was to develop holistic indicators that reflect how well services improve quality of life for people with musculoskeletal conditions, such as arthritis or back pain. The MSK-HQ instrument is designed to be used across different musculoskeletal care pathways in different healthcare settings.

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Professional contacts in your area

Find out who are some of the key people to speak to about involving professional groups in your local networks.

The Chartered Society of Physiotherapy‘s map of regional representatives is available here as a PDF to download (240KB).

BOA-ortho-banner_70BOA’s Regional Representatives:

See below for contact email addresses for the British Orthopaedic Association’s regional commissioning networks (consisting of Regional Advisers, working on a regional level, and Clinical Champions representing the BOA at individuals trusts):

Resources for patient involvement

Webinar – MSK Clinical Networks

Dr Ian Bernstein, NHS Ealing CCG, 29 April 2016

Clinical Networks: Transforming Musculoskeletal Care in North West London. To open the narrated slide presentation (powerpoint with audio), please click below.

webinar slides

Learning objectives, programme and more details are available on the MSK Knowledge Network on Yammer. Please see the “Useful Documents, Tools and Files” section. You can also find the full video version of this presentation and slides-only version there.


Webinar – Physiotherapy in Primary Care

Q&A with Andy Lord, 21 June 2016

Presentation on MSK Physiotherapy in Primary Care (Self-Referral to Colocation) led by Chartered Society of Physiotherapy (CSP).

physio webinar

Click image to open presentation on


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List of CCGs in the Knowledge Network

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