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Reviewing services for muscle and joint problems​


NHS Lambeth Clinical Commissioning Group is reviewing how we plan and buy services for patients needing assessment and treatment for musculoskeletal conditions (problems with muscles and joints). We aim to have the new service or services in place from September 2014.

Why is this happening?

In 2007, NHS Lambeth launched the ‘Musculoskeletal Clinical Assessment, Triage and Treatment Service’ (MCATTS) working with four specialist pilot teams.  This changed the way that referrals were managed so that patients see the professional best able to assess them, which in turn means that patients are directed to the appropriate treatment for their condition.

As it has been so successful we now plan to commission this on a more long term basis.  We are therefore going through a procurement process to ensure that the service we commission in the longer term meets the needs of people registered with a Lambeth GP as well ensuring we select the very best provider.

As the specialist MCATTS care is integrally linked to more general musculoskeletal physiotherapy services, we have also decided to bring them together so that the procurement now covers both areas.

Alongside MCATTs and standard musculoskeletal physiotherapy, some GP practices receive additional payments to provide physiotherapy and osteopathy services directly to their patients at the GP practice. This arrangement has also been reviewed and the CCG, in agreement with its stakeholders and patients, believe that we need a fair and equitable service that covers all areas and not just a few practices and as a result we have given notice to these providers and the care they currently provide will become part of the procurement review.

Improving quality and access

We now have an opportunity through the procurement process to look at how we can improve services for muscle and joint problems and ensure equal access to GP based services. Our aim is always to improve quality and ensure better access for patients, so we are looking at how we can develop a new and improved service that offers:

  • Fair access to therapy services for patients, no matter where they live in Lambeth
  • Health and care services that work better together to ensure continuity for patients.
  • A single point of referral for assessment and treatment of muscle and joint conditions, with a comprehensive management plan for patients and GPs.
  • Care that is distributed across Lambeth so that patients can attend treatment easily no matter where they live in the Borough, and so that people can access the service close to where they work if that suits them better
  • Less need for patients to go to hospital by providing follow up physiotherapy services in the community.
  • Making it easier for patients to manage their health condition and access support services.

What have we done so far?

As a public body we take our responsibility to be accountable to local people seriously.  Over the past year we have been speaking with patients and the public, GP practices, and the service providers. We are continuing to engage, working especially closely with our Patient Participation Groups at GP practices and with Healthwatch Lambeth.

What next?

We aim to finalise the outline for the desired model for the new service by December 2013. NHS Lambeth CCG actively encourages the involvement of Lambeth residents in their local NHS, and there are a number of ways you can get involved, give us your views and tell us about your experience of the services we plan and pay for.

  • Join the Patient Participation Group at your GP surgery, where you can share your experiences and air any concerns about your care and treatment in your practice and about health services in Lambeth more generally – ask at your surgery for details; we meet with representatives from Lambeth GP patient participation groups regularly to hear about any issues or questions they are picking up through their groups so that we can support improvements across the healthcare system
  • Join Healthwatch Lambeth, the local ‘watchdog’ body for health who can hear your views and contact healthcare providers and commissioners about your concerns, and also discuss these with us.  We have a Healthwatch member on our Project Board for our MCATTS work, so you could pass on any views through her:  or email
  • You can of course always speak directly to the services you are using to give your views about health services. You can contact the Patient Advice and Liaison (PALS) team of hospitals and community health services, to share concerns and compliments.
  • If you’d like to speak with us at NHS Lambeth CCG directly, we’d encourage you to do this, too: email as a starting point, and we’ll get the most appropriate person to respond. 

Please go to the ‘Have your say’ page of our website for further details.