Musculoskeletal Partners Network


In 2016, a few providers met by chance at a conference and agreed that the sustainability of our investment in quality MSK services was under threat due to a longstanding lack of understanding and data. Through the networks of those founding individuals, others joined the quarterly informal meetings and began to find consensus resulting in agreement to form a trade association. The Musculoskeletal Partners Network (MSKPN) was formed in spring 2018 and it sits at the heart of the industry to give providers of MSK services a collective voice. The current market is fragmented and there is no other network of its kind available today, therefore the MSKPN provides guidance to help raise standards and educate commissioners and system leaders of the benefits of investing in quality MSK services to patients, purchasers and staff working in those organisations.

Our work is focused around
  • Improving quality
  • Raising standards
  • Establish common outcomes framework – internal benchmarking, setting standards
  • Influencing commissioners/purchasers and educating consumers on healthy lifestyles
  • Improving image of independent sector recruitment
  • Influencing policy makers

About the sector

MSK conditions accounted for more than 22% of the total burden of ill health (morbidity) in the UK, with low back and neck being the biggest cause of ill health overall across all ages.1

(1. Global Burden of Disease Collaborative Network. Global Burden of Disease Study 2017 (GBD 2017) Results. Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME), Seattle, 2018.)

What is MSK?

  • 200+ separate conditions including osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, back, neck, hip, knee, traumatic degeneration, inflammatory, infective, neoplastic, pain, bone disease and osteoporosis
  • Associated with a large number of co-morbidities, including diabetes, depression and obesity

The MSK challenge

  • MSK in England costs £7-10bn pa and is the 4th largest area of NHS spending
  • According to the 2001 Health Survey for England 40% of all disabilities were attributed to musculoskeletal conditions
  • In UK 9.6m adults, 150k children, 1 in 4 adults affected by longstanding MSK problems





Primary care

  • 30% of all GP consultations are in relation to MSK conditions
  • MSK conditions are the most common reason for repeat GP consultations.

Emergency services

  • Over 3.5 million calls per year to emergency services relate to MSK injuries or conditions


  • The MSK problems are the reason behind one in eight sick-notes. The average length of certified sickness absence is 10 weeks. They are the single biggest cause of disability in the UK with the economic cost estimated at over £7 billion per year in relation to absence from work.
  • More years lived with MSK disability than any other disease – 30.9m working days lost Office for National Statistics 2016
  • 60% of people who are on long-term sick leave cite MSK problems as the reason and patients with MSK conditions form the second largest group (22%) receiving incapacity benefits.

Useful Resources

Useful websites:

Meet the board

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Chair: Prof Andrew Walton PT

PT, Founder and Group Executive Director, Connect Health

Andrew founded Connect Health 30 years ago with the aim of providing the highest level of care to people with musculoskeletal problems. Prior to that he qualified as a physiotherapist from Northumbria University in 1985 and worked at Edinburgh’s main teaching hospital.

Andrew combines his clinical expertise and commercial experience to develop innovative new ways to meet patient needs and commissioners’ budgets.

A passionate believer in the value of effective physiotherapy practice, he is a driving force for innovation and change, founding the MSK Providers Network, a social prescribing charity and university partnerships, becoming a Visiting Professor of Leeds Beckett University.

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Vice Chair & Secretary: Simon Devane 

Chief Executive, Pure Sports Medicine

Simon joined Pure Sports Medicine in 2007, during the early stages of the company’s development, he has held multiple roles within the company, including Chief Operating Officer and Managing Director before being appointed CEO in 2015. Previously, Simon was a Consultant & Project Manager for British Telecom, BP and Network Rail. Having worked across 5 different sectors in the last 15 years, Simon has seen and experienced the good and the bad of different business structures and management philosophies. This experience has been invaluable in planning the growth and strategic direction of Pure Sports Medicine.

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Treasurer: Rupert Crowfoot

Chief Executive, Six Physio

An ex Infantry Officer with a broad, generalist business background having fulfilled a number of operational roles up to board level in a variety of FTSE 100 and Fortune 500 FMCG and Industrial organisations. Rupert holds an MBA and is responsible for the day to day running of Six Physio and the clinic roll out programme.

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Board Director: Joanne Mathews

CEO/Founder, TenHealth & Fitness

Joanne established Ten in 2007 as a result of a car crash – something that she has come to think of as her ‘happy accident’. Though it didn’t feel very happy at the time, it turned out to be genuinely and positively life-changing – the idea for Ten Health & Fitness was born in the rehab gym where Joanne was recovering from the back and pelvic injuries that she had sustained.

Ten uniquely bridges the gap between the medical community and generic fitness market and was instrumental in building the boutique fitness sector with its small group dynamic reformer Pilates classes and pay as you go model. Today Ten has 10 Studios across London and 10 different service offerings including Pilates, Physiotherapy and Clinical Exercise Prescription.  It also operates a Circle of Care model – an integrated, multi-disciplinary and client-centric approach to wellness with Ten’s MoveBetter mantra at its core.

Previously Joanne was Head of Marketing & PR for Habitat and Consultant to the board of Austin Reed on their Brand & Marketing & PR strategy taking them to sale.

Joanne has a brand driven and client centric approach to Business and leads strategic direction and innovation at Ten.