- Led by the Robert Jones and Agnes Hunt Orthopedic Hospital NHS Foundation Trust.
- Supporting staff and patients to understand the link between pain and mental health.
- The initial scoping and testing for this project took place with the Q Lab March – October 2019.
Work so far
The Robert Jones and Agnes Hunt Orthopedic Hospital NHS Foundation Trust is based in Shropshire and provides a range of specialist orthopaedic surgery and MSK services.
Clinicians across the hospital regularly hear from patients about the impact living with pain has on their lives, so working with the Q Lab provided the team with an opportunity to start to addressing this need. It also builds on the evidence showing physical and mental health are closely interconnected and affect each other through a number of pathways.
The team brought together a range of clinicians working across the MSK services within the hospital – outpatients and inpatients, as well as colleagues from the Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust and Shropshire Community Health NHS Trust, to understand what some of the issues in pathways are and how this plays out for patients.
The team narrowed their focus to how these issues play out within consultations between people living with mental health conditions and persistent back and neck pain, and physios.
Despite initial enthusiasm and engagement, the team struggled to build the momentum to drive the project forward within a six-month time-frame or secure commitment from clinical teams to lead the work. They decided to focus on a bounded improvement area, that would begin to raise awareness with staff and patients. The team prototyped a patient information leaflet that was designed for people accessing the MSK services, introducing information about depression and anxiety and where to go for help. They got direct feedback from patients by setting up a stand in the hospital cafeteria. While the leaflet is a small intervention, it is an important first step to increase awareness and normalise conversations about mental health in a physical health setting.