Developing a national musculoskeletal core capabilities framework for first point of contact practitioners

Kenneth Chance-Larsen, Michael R Backhouse, Richard Collier, Colin Wright, Sally Gosling, Beverley Harden, Sarah Marsh, Peter Kay, Hilary Wyles, Jo Erwin, Anthony Woolf

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: We aimed to support service transformation by developing a core capabilities framework for first contact practitioners working with people who have musculoskeletal conditions.

Methods: We conducted a modified three-round Delphi study with a multi-professional panel of 41 experts nominated through 18 national professional and patient organizations. Qualitative data from an open-ended question in round one were analysed using a thematic approach and combined with existing literature to shape a draft framework. Participants rated their agreement with each of the proposed 142 outcomes within 14 capabilities on a 10-point Likert scale in round two. The final round combined round two results with a wider online survey.

Results: Rounds two and three of the Delphi survey were completed by 37 and 27 participants, respectively. Ninety practitioners responded to the wider online survey. The final framework contains 105 outcomes within 14 capabilities, separated into four domains (person-centred approaches; assessment, investigation and diagnosis; condition management, intervention and prevention; and service and professional development). The median agreement for all 105 outcomes was at least nine on the 10-point Likert scale in the final round.

Conclusion: The framework outlines the core capabilities required for practitioners working as the first point of contact for people with musculoskeletal conditions. It provides a standard structure and language across professions, with greater consistency and portability of musculoskeletal core capabilities. Agreement on each of the 105 outcomes was universally high amongst the expert panel, and the framework is now being disseminated by Health Education England, NHS England and Skills for Health.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberrkz036
Number of pages8
JournalRheumatology Advances in Practice
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 20 Sept 2019

Bibliographical note

© The Author(s) 2019. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the British Society for Rheumatology.

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