Aches and pains website scoops NHS innovation award

Aches and pains website scoops NHS innovation award

A website and PR campaign which helped reduce outpatient referrals for musculoskeletal (MSK) conditions in Sheffield by 17 per cent scooped a major award.

A website and PR campaign which helped reduce outpatient referrals for musculoskeletal (MSK) conditions in Sheffield by 17 per cent scooped a major award.

The pioneering Sheffield Aches and Pains won the GP and Primary Care category at the prestigious Medipex 2012 NHS Innovation Awards.

We worked with GPs, orthopaedic consultants, physiotherapists and voluntary sector representatives to develop a unique online approach to managing patients with mild musculoskeletal conditions.

The citywide project aimed to empower more people to manage their own pain and so save unnecessary GP visits and hospital referrals, and reduce the numbers developing chronic pain. The site provides general health care and pain relief advice, as well as directing people to individual websites which focus on how to deal with common conditions affecting the back and neck, foot and ankle, arms and hand, elbow, shoulder, hip and knee.

Patients are referred to the sites after visiting their GP with a problem. Each website contains downloadable patient information leaflets and exercise sheets, plus video exercise demonstrations, general healthy eating and pain relief advice, as well as sections targeting employers and health care professionals.

For healthcare professionals, the websites provide an easy-to-use clinical management and educational tool to support the management of muscular skeletal (MSK) conditions, saving unnecessary surgery visits and hospital referrals as part of a citywide care pathway.

They also provide support and advice for employers to help facilitate a speedy and active rehabilitation response to MSK conditions in the workplace.

Sheffield GP Ollie Hart, clinical commissioning lead for musculoskeletal conditions led the development of the NHS funded web resource.

 He said: “I am absolutely delighted that this innovative approach to encouraging people to self-manage their conditions has been recognised. It has been a real collaborative project involving several hospital and community-based teams.

“We know that teaching people how to manage conditions well themselves, helps to reduce progression to long term problems. It is definitely the way forward in the NHS.”

The Mediplex Awards are open to NHS staff members, academic teams and companies across the Yorkshire and Humber and East Midlands regions who have developed innovative ideas to improve patient care across the NHS.