Find out more about MSK

MSK Vision

Nina White, Head of Transformation at Shropshire CCG talks about the MSK Vision - to commission a transformed MSK Service that provides capacity to meet the needs of Shropshire patients in line with evidence based best practice:  

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What do we mean by MSK?

MSK pertains to the range of MSK problems affecting muscles, joints and associated soft tissues, arising from injury, over and under use, and long-term conditions such as, but not limited to osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis, that are addressed in the following services (with whom the CCG commissions a service):

  • Physiotherapy –community based outpatient physiotherapy
  • Orthopaedics
  • Rheumatology
  • Chronic Pain services (MSK conditions only)
  • Shropshire orthopaedic outreach service
  • Podiatry
  • Orthotics
  • Radiology

MSK Triage

Changes to the Pathway for Orthopaedic Referrals

From 1 April, 2018, all routine orthopaedic referrals should be sent via Referral Assessment Service (RAS) and will be reviewed and triaged by the Shropshire Orthopaedic Outreach Service (SOOS).

Visit Shropshire Orthopaedic Outreach Service (SOOS) page for more information.

Meet the SOOS Team

Dr Chris Tomlinson

Dr Chris Tomlinson is moving from his role as MSK Advisor to the CCG, to head up the newly expanded SOOS Service as Consultant in Sport and Exercise Medicine.
Chris was a Shropshire GP between 1999 and 2009, and has worked within the SOOS team for 13 years. His expanded role includes service leadership and development, alongside an expanded clinical role.

Chris has worked in professional football for 14 seasons and in elite sport for 9 years. In addition to his SOOS role, he is Chief Medical Officer to British Gymnastics, a Senior Sports Physician at the English Institute of Sport and travelled with Team GB to the Rio Olympics. In April, he is working as part of Team England at the Commonwealth Games.

Chris said ‘I’m delighted to have been appointed as a Consultant in Sport and Exercise Medicine at one of the country’s leading Orthopaedic Hospitals. The move demonstrates both the CCG and RJAH’s commitment to providing world class, evidence-based conservative care to patients with musculoskeletal problems. We have increased our staffing with some fantastic clinicians to add to the experienced team already working at SOOS, and all of us will be working closely with the surgical teams to ensure that the patient sees the right clinician at the right time.’

Also in the SOOS Team:

  • GPs (with a special interest in MSK)
  • Extended Scope Physiotherapists and Podiatrists

Who are part of the wider multi-disciplinary team including Rheumatology and the Surgical Team.

MRI Scans

To facilitate appropriate referrals to radiology departments, The Royal College of Radiologists has published iRefer: Making the best use of clinical radiology. These are essential radiological investigation guidelines.

Shropshire CCG is making iRefer (version 8) available to all GP Practices to help to promote evidence based imaging.

MRIs are very often not needed to successfully treat your pain/problem. Being aware of this can save you valuable time as you try to find a solution to your problem.

The main reason for this is because there is a high percentage of “abnormal” findings (i.e. disc bulges/herniation's, partial tears, arthritis, etc.) in people who aren’t experiencing any pain.

Below please find some figures for MRIs taken on healthy, pain-free people:

Helplines and information

Arthritis research UK - arthritis helpline - call 0800 5200 520

Call for free answers on your type of arthritis. Advisors aim to bring all of the information and advice about arthritis into one place: to make it easier to access and as useful as possible for everyone affected by the condition. Supported by a history of medical research, and informed by the experiences of people with arthritis, the helpline seeks to bring the best information, tips, and advice, specific to you.

You can also contact the Arthritis research UK helpline by email or post:

Important: Lines open from 9am-8pm, Monday- Friday (excluding bank holidays). Please note that advisors are not medically trained and aren’t able to offer you individual medical advice. Speak with your GP or another healthcare professional for one-to-one medical advice. Calls may be recorded for training purposes.

Arthritis Care support line - call 0808 800 4050

A free and confidential service, open to anyone living in the UK with arthritis. Arthritis Care can also help partners, family members, friends and health professionals with any question they may have about arthritis. Each member of the helpline team has experience of living with arthritis or another long-term condition or has close links with someone who has arthritis.

Find out more on the Arthritis Care website

The National Osteoporosis Society (NOS)

Our vision is a future without osteoporosis.

Find out more on the NOS website.


MSK Knowledge Hub

The MSK Knowledge Hub is part of the partnership between the Arthritis and Musculoskeletal Alliance and NHS England. The aim is to provide a searchable resource library for people working on support for people with musculoskeletal conditions. The Hub incorporates an interactive MSK Forum enabling people to discuss and share views.

It is a resource for health professionals, health leads and anyone interested in MSK health.

Visit the MSK Knowledge Hub.



Free online learning - Five Minutes to Musculoskeletal Care
Duration 30 minutes

Topic Musculoskeletal rheumatology and trauma
Audience Foundation Doctor, GP, GP Trainee, GP Trainer or educator, Medical student

Click here to find out more.

Further training and learning opportunities are available on the Educational Calendar page.