January 27, 2022

EQL welcomes newly released MSK standards

We talk with Rowena Tunks to discuss the new musculoskeletal physiotherapy service standards launched by the Chartered Society of Physiotherapists

Launch of the first set of MSK service standards

Demonstrating the value of physiotherapy services for people with MSK related conditions has been made easier with the release of the new Musculoskeletal (MSK) Physiotherapy Service Standards. 

Developed by the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy (CSP) with input from various stakeholders during the consultation period, they cover the delivery of MSK physiotherapy services in any setting—privately and within the NHS—for adults aged 16 and over.

There are eight separate standards, with quality measures for each:

1.     Assessment, diagnosis, management planning and review

2.     Personalised physiotherapy

3.     Supported self-management

4.     Communication

5.     Integrated management pathways

6.     Population health

7.     Evaluation, audit and research

8.     Clinical governance

An audit tool which will enable services to examine the quality of their service and identify areas for quality improvement initiatives is in the final stages of testing and will be released shortly.

Great quality care

EQL has always pushed for standards in MSK care and the CSP should be congratulated on developing these MSK Physiotherapy Service Standards, they will be a great basis to allow benchmarking and improvement of MSK care in the UK, helping to ensure great quality care across providers. 

Rowena Tunks, EQL’s Clinical Governance Lead, said: “The new standards are vital in providing organisations and MSK physiotherapy services with a standardised way of measuring good practice and will help to drive service levels up throughout the profession. Physiotherapy is leading out as a profession in publishing these standards, but they are potentially applicable for any MSK care, regardless of the professionals involved in providing it.”

The opportunity for those connected to MSK care

The standards are intended as a tool for services to demonstrate the value of MSK physiotherapy services, with the aim of driving continuous improvement. 

They can work to support everyone involved with managing, facilitating and delivering MSK services and help to identify tangible solutions to improve their practice and service.

While the standards will allow private providers to evaluate and demonstrate the quality of their practice and service and benchmark it against a national standard, they will also provide a guide for commissioners, health boards and service leads to determine how services should operate and evaluate the standards of service being delivered using quality measures.

Key decision-makers, people with MSK conditions and the wider public will benefit by being provided with information about what high-quality MSK physiotherapy looks like, helping them to make informed choices about the services they access or commission.

"Adoption of the standards should ensure a high quality of care across MSK services and help to provide the best possible patient experience.”

Rowena Tunks, Clinical Governance Lead, EQL

"We are on the same page already and the majority of these newly published MSK standards are already accounted for in our current practice or planned improvements“

Taking the standards forward

The MSK Physiotherapy Service Standards could be applied within different MSK services and scenarios, depending on which main area needs improvement. To help identify where the standards could best be used, the CSP website includes a downloadable problem statement template that can be worked through by a group of people who are impacted by or simply interested in a particular problem. 

Using the 5 W’s (when, where, who, what and why) to uncover a factual answer, the group can identify the problem and consider how they can improve or resolve it. The template suggests looking at the activities and inputs needed, what outputs will be achieved and the outcomes that will prove the problem has been sustainably resolved.

From consultation to implementation, EQL leads the way

EQL’s Clinical Governance and Clinical Services key leads and Chief Medical Officer took part in the consultation process during development, so are familiar with the detail of the standards. 

The CSP stresses that organisations need to use the standards in conjunction with competency frameworks, noting that they have been developed from high level evidence, including National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) recommendations on what best care looks like for patients and the public, and are aligned with the fundamental CQC standards. 

Rowena added: “EQL’s clinical governance framework was developed holistically to align with statutory requirements and promote excellence in practice, including alignment with the CQC standards (which is currently not obligatory for our service type). That basically means we are on the same page already and the majority of these newly published MSK standards are already accounted for in our current practice or planned improvements.“

If you’d like to know more about the standards and other developments in the field, sign up to receive new blog posts directly to your inbox. Our next blog post will feature Michael Guard, Topol Fellow NHS and Head of Clinical Services at EQL, discussing the implications and benefits arising from the introduction of the standard seven - 'Evaluation, audit and research'

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