Faculty Response to Draft Health and Care Workforce Strategy for England

The Faculty of Sport and Exercise Medicine UK has responded to Facing the Facts Shaping the Future: A Draft Health and Care Workforce Strategy for England to 2027.

Our response focused on two key workforce areas musculoskeletal (MSK) services and exercise medicine and physical activity services in the NHS. Musculoskeletal problems account for 20-30% of GP consultations and constitute 33% of causes for long term sickness costing the UK £7 billion a year (1). Increased physical activity is associated with a 30-50% risk reduction for chronic disease and the direct and indirect costs of physical inactivity in England have been estimated at £8.2 billion per year (2).

Dr Paul D Jackson President of the FSEM (UK) comments: “Specialist clinicians are needed who understand the cause of musculoskeletal problems and are able to provide focused treatments, as well as lifestyle interventions, to manage and prevent MSK disorders. The diagnostic and therapeutic knowledge in MSK medicine already exists and is a key part of the Sport and Exercise Medicine training programme.”

The response continues to explain why developing MSK Medicine in the NHS would do a great service to the millions of patients who suffer from MSK disorders and how this would fit in with existing medical specialties and services. It also addresses the NHS Five Year Forward View’s vision to deliver ‘an upgrade in prevention and public health’ (3) through a stronger focus on physical activity and exercise medicine services.

The Faculty also supports both the Royal College of Physicians London and the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh responses to the consultation.

Read our full response here.


1 – Musculoskeletal Health in the Workplace: a toolkit for employers. Business in the Community 2017

2 – FSEM (UK) A Fresh Approach NHS Document 2012

3 – NHS Five Year Forward View October 2014