We are Sussex MSK Partnership East (SMSKPE).

SMSKPE is an NHS referral management service, offering pathways and services for the care and treatment of patients with bone, joint and muscle conditions (musculoskeletal or MSK for short). Our service also manages referrals and provides care and support for rheumatology patients and those with chronic pain. 

1 in 3 people in the United Kingdom suffer from an MSK condition and these conditions account for around 30% of GP consultations.
Symptoms include pain, stiffness, limited movement and fatigue all of which can affect quality of life and independence.

By bringing different specialisms together we can ensure that patients receive prompt and appropriate care that focuses on their individual needs and situations.

How does our service work?

We bring together and commission a network of local clinicians and support organisations to provide seamless, all-round care for our patients. Our clinicians include surgeons, physicians, physiotherapists and Advanced Practitioners (APs). APs are physiotherapists who are experts in diagnosis and have extended abilities such as being able to order diagnostic investigations. APs usually specialise in a particular area of the body, for example, spine, shoulder and elbow, hips, knees, foot and ankle, hand and wrist. We provide services from community clinics across East Sussex. Our clinicians work in dedicated MSK facilities, outside of traditional hospital settings, with the vision of patient care closer to home. CLICK HERE to find out where your closes clinics are.

Appointments and administration are managed by our team of Patient Care Advisors who are responsible for keeping patients informed and supported while in our care.

How do patients access our service?

There are multiple routes into our service. We accept referrals from a variety of practitioners, for example your GP. We also accept referrals from physiotherapy providers and other NHS services. You might have seen a First Contact Practitioner within your GP surgery, for example.

Patients referrals are clinically triaged by our specialist team to determine the best care pathway for their individual needs and situation. Should you require a further assessment and treatment, we aim to get you to the right person at the right time and in a place that is convenient for you. For many people the first step might involve an appointment with a physiotherapist or an advanced practitioner. They will work with you to get the right diagnosis, discuss treatment options and help you to choose the option best suited to your needs. For some this might involve an onward referral for specialist treatment, surgery, or pain management.

If you would like to access physiotherapy you can also self-refer, without the need to see a clinician. Find out more about this pathway HERE.

Our History

The service was commissioned in 2015 by the Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) that manage health services in the majority of East Sussex (High Weald, Lewes and Havens CCG and Eastbourne, Hailsham and Seaford CCG). Their aim was to make MSK care more efficient, cost effective and more accessible for patients in these areas. MSK refers to a large range of conditions, many of which are difficult to diagnose. 

Equality & Diversity

Sussex MSK Partnership East is committed to providing high-quality services that meet the needs and exceed the expectations of the people we care for. Equality, diversity and human rights are central to our values and ways of working. We recognise that every person is different and we welcome, value and respect those differences. Sussex MSK Partnership East is a joint venture company and fulfils its general duties as defined by the Equality Act though its provider partners: • Here • Horder Healthcare • Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust • Sussex Community NHS Foundation Trust

Equality Impact Assessment Sussex MSK Partnership East shows due regard in the decisions it makes about patient care by understanding the impact across the protected characteristics and developing with our partners mitigating actions. This is demonstrated through the publication of robust and meaningful equality impact assessments. These assessments are completed in collaboration with partners as listed above.