Patients with musculoskeletal conditions are set to benefit from even higher standards of care, as well as enhanced reassurance from healthcare professionals, thanks to the development of a Diploma in Musculoskeletal (MSK) Medicine.

 A number of staff members from The Robert Jones and Agnes Hunt Orthopaedic Hospital (RJAH) have recently passed the exam, including Carwyn Davies and Mark Wedge, Advanced Practice Physiotherapists in the hospital’s Shropshire Orthopaedic Outreach Service (SOOS), who both scored highly.

The Diploma in Musculoskeletal Medicine sets the standard for MSK knowledge across the entire breadth of community healthcare. The qualification – which is the first of its kind – involves both training in MSK and Rheumatology conditions in Community and Primary Care.

Approximately 18.8million people in the UK are living with an MSK problem – with one in five people in England attending their GP to seek help for this.

The diploma has been developed to support the multi-professional workforce that is evolving to meet the growing need for high standards of care for MSK conditions by demonstrating applied knowledge in the field.

This qualification will support evidencing competency as a GP, a GP working in extended roles as well as Allied Health Professionals (AHPs) working towards advanced practice roles in a range of community settings.

Developed jointly by the Faculty of Sport and Exercise Medicine (UK) and the Primary Care Rheumatology & Musculoskeletal Medicine Society (PCRMM), the exam and associated qualification recognises excellence in MSK care and provides a benchmark of quality for both service commissioners and patients.

The diploma also boasts strong Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin links with Dr Chris Tomlinson, Sports and Exercise Medicine Consultant in the SOOS team at RJAH, and Dr Louise Warburton, Clinical Lead for Telford MSK Service (TeMS), both leading the development of the qualification.

Dr Tomlinson said: “The diploma is the benchmark qualification for practitioners in extended and advanced roles, it’s a strong demonstration of their expertise and knowledge and I would like to call out and congratulate Carwyn and Mark in particular for their absolutely stunning exam results.

“Both Carwyn and Mark are superb examples of how valuable Advanced Practice Physiotherapists are, and the breadth and depth of knowledge they possess.

“Many people are sadly unaware of the healthcare professionals working in advanced practice roles within the NHS, who provide a plethora of knowledge, skills and experience, and they are crucial members of the patient pathway. They also play a vital role in supporting secondary care and GPs.”

Nina White, SOOS Clinical Services Manager, said: “We are delighted with the first cohort’s examination results. Congratulations to Carwyn, Mark and all of the other practitioners, who have worked so hard on the MSK Diploma.

“It’s fantastic that the knowledge and skills of extended role practitioners is being formally recognised in this way. It also ties in nicely with the work of the MSK Alliance in Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin, as well as the work being done nationally.

“It also strongly promotes conservative management of MSK conditions and the benefits of that. For us, it’s about ensuring that people are cared for at the right time, in the right place, by the right person – and hopefully, this will reassure our patients that our team really does know best how to manage and care for their needs.”

Mark Wedge added: “We are thrilled with our results and also extremely thankful for the support of the Trust in completion of the diploma.

“As Nina says, it highlights the importance of conservative management of MSK conditions, and we hope will instil some more confidence in patients, that every staff member in their pathway adds value to their care.”

Pictured: Dr Chris Tomlinson, Sports and Exercise Medicine Consultant in the SOOS team at RJAH; Carwyn Davies and Mark Wedge, both Advanced Practice Physiotherapists in the hospital’s Shropshire Orthopaedic Outreach Service (SOOS).