By Nick Arestia, Alex Trompeterb, Chris Moranc and Andrew Bennettd
aConsultant Trauma & Orthopaedic Surgeon - Barts Health NHS Trust
bOrthopaedic Trauma / Limb Reconstruction Surgeon, St George's University Hospital and Training Program Director, South West London Orthopaedic Rotation
cDeputy National Strategic Incident Director COVID-19
dNational Clinical Director MSK conditions NHS England and Improvement Consultant Physiotherapist Sutton Health and Care Alliance, Epsom and St Helier NHS Trust

Corresponding author e-mails: [email protected] and [email protected]

Published 27 May 2020

Readers may have heard of the NHS Change Challenge over the past two weeks and wondered what this is all about. We have all been involved in the establishment of this initiative for T&O and musculoskeletal disease in our roles either as National Clinical Directors for NHS England or as BOA Committee members. In this article, we’ll explain more about what the change challenge is, and some early reflections on getting involved. We hope that readers will be inspired to find out more and get involved themselves, at or on social media using #nhschangechallenge

The face of healthcare has dramatically changed in the last few months, and we are unlikely to experience such a stress on our way of working or how we treat our patients in our careers again. We have all had to adapt overnight and adjust to our new realities. 

Good things however can come from tough situations. Much like times of conflict have offered huge advances in our knowledge and understanding in trauma care, we must use the pandemic to make positive and progressive steps in the way healthcare is delivered. Up and down the country, healthcare providers have leapt into action and come up with new and exciting ways of dealing with the limited resources and social distancing measures. The sheer need and lack of red tape has seen an explosion of innovation. 

We must ensure that all these new and exciting ways of working become embedded in the NHS as we march towards ‘normality’. The #nhschangechallenge aims to capture these changes and lock them down: something the BOA is fully supporting, and providing champions for, in the form of a member of the orthopaedic (NA) and trauma (AT) committees. 

The first step to do this is to start a conversation nationally, amongst all MSK health care providers, on a ‘crowdicity’ platform. We ask anybody with any idea or new way of working, no matter how big or small, to submit it via the link above. This will hopefully spark national interest and an ensuing conversation will aid in embedding the best ideas in our practice. 

The website has been live for a week, and we have already seen some great ideas being championed. Virtual clinic work and suggestions on network wide communications have featured heavily, along with enhanced digital communications within Trusts. We have seen suggestions directly relating to clinical encounters, and proposals relating to system changes and processes. Patients have also been invited to offer their positive experiences of  care during the pandemic and what they would like to see in the future.

We ask that you, the orthopaedic community, consider what you would like to see in the way your working practice changes or develops as a result of COVID-19. This is your opportunity to grab the positive changes and receive support centrally. We need you to promote your ideas to us and we can help champion them form you. #nhschangechallenge – it is an opportunity to improve!