NHS community musculoskeletal services (MSK) in Oxfordshire are moving to a new provider from 1 October 2022.

Connect Health, a national provider of NHS community MSK services, has been selected to deliver the service across the county, after a comprehensive procurement process carried out by the now dissolved Oxfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group.

The process was informed by patient experience, feedback and input from the Pain Management, Orthopaedics and Rheumatology services at Oxford University Hospitals (OUH), Oxfordshire GPs and others.

The current five year contract has been provided by Healthshare Ltd since 2017.  

Community MSK services in Oxfordshire receive between 5,000 and 6,000 referrals a month from people suffering from joint, muscle and back pain.  Patients referred to the service, or who refer themselves, are assessed by clinical practitioners, including physiotherapists, who provide advice on  exercise, self-care, pain management, prevention and, where necessary, investigations to help with diagnosis and treatment.

Referrals to either secondary care providers or other primary care therapy services are made directly from the service. 

The team from the former Oxfordshire CCG - now the Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire and Berkshire West Integrated Care Board  (BOB ICB) - is working closely with Connect Health and partners to enable a safe transition between providers, ensuring the minimal disruption to patients currently waiting for assessment or undergoing treatment. Clinic locations will remain the same and more are expected to be added, bringing services closer to where they are needed.

A comprehensive list of Frequently Asked Questions is available to view on the Connect Health website

Questions from patients about the service can also be sent to  bobicb-ox.plannedcare@nhs.net 

While the full Oxfordshire Community Musculoskeletal (MSK) service will be operational from 1 October, Connect Health will be receiving some urgent MSK referrals from 12 September.  

Sharon Barrington, head of planned care and longterm conditions at BOB ICB, said: "Connect Health is partnering with the NHS to deliver care effectively and efficiently in community settings, supporting waiting times and improving outcomes for patients. We will be contacting all patients who are in the system at the time of the changeover  with more information, but we do not expect people to be inconvenienced in terms of locations or dates of appointments.”

Richard Pell, head of NHS Service Development at Connect Health, added: “We are thrilled to be working with the NHS in Oxfordshire, to support patients with a range of services including MSK, podiatry, sports injury, pain management, Osteoarthritis, knee, hip and pelvic health.”