14 September 2023

Community Appointment Days – An idea that rapidly turned into an innovation


Jamie Tulley

In April and May, across two days, 550 people from our physiotherapy routine waiting list came and joined us in their local community at our Community Appointment Days. 

Community Appointment Days (CADs) provide a comprehensive range of MSK services under one roof. Conveniently located in local leisure centres, CADs offer a range of resources tailored to the specific needs of the local population, providing same-day access to services including assessments, advice, health promotion, rehabilitation and community and voluntary sector support, all in a non-medicalised environment.    

Found the new service really useful. What could have taken a few months was made possible in 1.5 hours.

Taking the opportunity to step out of business as usual to look at how we might shape the future MSK service, we knew that the premise for doing so was multifactorial. We recognised that the current system tended to lean into treating people with a single condition, putting people on a pathway that focussed on a biomedical model, and where it was perceived people are best managed in a hospital setting. We also acknowledged that clinicians were being faced with increasing complexity and intensity of clinical practice, and consequently, staff were feeling burnt out with low morale.  

Photograph: Jenny Handy

MSK practitioners at a Community Appointment Day (CAD)

Inspired by New Local’s Community Powered NHS and Victor Montori’s ‘Why We Revolt’, the CAD innovation leans into the strength of the community to find the solution to support individuals, shifting away from a paternalistic mindset to a therapeutic alliance which recognises the expertise individuals bring is equal to the expertise that clinicians bring.

So good to be able to talk to someone who understands your problem, everyone was so helpful. This day is a really good idea.

The aim of the CADs was to create the right conditions to allow clinicians to support people with their MSK condition and beyond, lean into the local community services, really embed personalised care, focus on prevention and health promotion, and try to reach people who really need us.

Listen to the interview here

Read what makes the CADs tick in Chief Executive, Dr Helen Curr’s blog

In the short video below Laura Finucane explains the idea behind the Community Appointment Day and how it worked.

Find out what people had to say after attending a Community Appointment Day here.

Download the Community Appointment Day Essential Ingredients.

Download the Community Appointment Day Information Sheet.

About Sussex MSK Partnership Central

Sussex MSK Partnership Central is a joint venture between Here, & Sussex Community NHS Foundation Trust. This is a prime contracting model supporting musculoskeletal (MSK) health for a population of 650,000 covering physiotherapy, orthopaedics, rheumatology and chronic pain. The service operates across central Sussex; including Brighton & Hove, Horsham and mid Sussex and Crawley.

Website: www.sussexmskpartnershipcentral.co.uk

Interested in finding out more about the Community Appointment Days?

Email collab@hereweare.org.uk or use the form below.

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