Pivoting operations led to multi-disciplinary team approach for leading MSK and pain services provider
Healthcare services provider Connect Health and the British Association of Sport Rehabilitators (BASRaT) have partnered to champion the role of sport rehabilitators across the nation.
As the UK’s leading provider of musculoskeletal (MSK) and pain services to the NHS, over the past two years the number of sport rehabilitators within Connect Health has grown by 175%.
This growth can be attributed to a change in mindset by founder Andrew Walton, whose eyes were opened after his visiting professor role at Leeds Beckett University in 2015.
Andrew, a trained physiotherapist with experience in sports medicine, founded Connect Health in 1989 with the aim of providing the highest level of care to people with MSK disorders. Still passionate about getting the best outcomes for patients, he explained: “As part of my position at Leeds Beckett I visited different health professions, and I realised I was blinkered about what made a good clinician.
“My eyes were opened to how complementary professionals – sport rehabilitators, osteopaths, chiropractors and more – could bring new skills to the table that would hugely support our physiotherapists and clinical teams, and ultimately further benefit our patients.”
This led to a period of operational change at Connect Health, during which the company established multi-disciplinary teams (MDT) and renamed titles from positions such as physiotherapist to MSK clinician. It also worked closely with professional bodies, including BASRaT, to understand the nuances, strengths, and differences between the professions and how to create the best environment for teams to flourish.
Strengthening the organisations’ bond even further, the strategic collaboration will ensure BASRaT’s 1300 members can access Connect Health’s latest sport rehabilitation job vacancies and gather insights on what an MDT career within the sector is really like, alongside practical advice, training news and guidance.
Alex Tait, Head of Resourcing and People Services at Connect Health, said: “We are only as good as our people and thankfully we have fantastic colleagues across the board at Connect Health – however it is a challenging time to find new recruits. This partnership will not only connect us with some of the most ambitious, highly skilled and committed sport rehabilitators working within the industry today, but it will help BASRaT’s members to see firsthand from their peers, what the day job entails.
“The need for high quality sports rehabilitators has never been greater. Over one third of the UK population has an MSK disorder and between 30-50% live with chronic pain. Rehab professionals, as part of a multidisciplinary team, play a vital role in helping these patients.”
Ollie Coburn, Registrar at BASRaT said: “This strategic alliance with Connect Health provides a fantastic opportunity for our members. The company understands how important sport rehabilitators are within healthcare services, which is evidenced by the growth in sport rehabilitator positions over the past few years. Plus, there is a healthy stream of new vacancies, all of which come with good remuneration packages and excellent career development potential.”
Colleagues at Connect Health are given continual support and opportunities for enhanced learning through the organisation’s training division, the Connect Health Academy.
It features courses covering wellbeing, equality and diversity, and leadership management. There are graduate development and advanced practitioner programmes, as well as clinical inductions and Continuing Professional Development (CPD) days.
Alex concluded: “We offer our teams ongoing support and development, and we pride ourselves on being flexible and inclusive to ensure they can grow in their career and of course make a positive difference to patients’ lives.”
Hannah Bowra, Team Lead Senior MSK Clinician at Connect Health and BASRaT member, said: “There are more equal opportunities now in the musculoskeletal setting for sport rehabbers and therapists, especially at Connect Health. I’m increasingly finding that there is a better understanding of sport rehabilitation/therapy within the MSK physiotherapy community, and it is becoming known that the differences between the titles are minimal. As a result, we are seeing more equal opportunities arise in the clinical/MSK sector.”
Connect Health supports more than 375,000 NHS patients every year in areas spanning musculoskeletal health, physiotherapy, mental health services, rheumatology, and pain management. It has contracts with 29 NHS Integrated Care Boards (ICBs) and employs around 500 people in clinical and operational roles.