• Integrating sport and exercise medicine clinics into the National Health Service: a qualitative study

      Vishnubala, Dane; Mariono, Katherine, Rose; Pratten, Margaret, Kathryn; Pringle, Andy; Griffin, Steffan, Arthur; Finn, Gabrielle; Bazira, Peter; Edwards, Kimberley; Hull York Medical School, York; University of Leeds; et al. (BMJ, 2020-11-03)
      Objectives To explore the services National Health Service (NHS)-based sport and exercise medicine (SEM) clinics can offer, and the barriers to creating and integrating SEM services into the NHS. Semi-structured interviews were undertaken to collect data from identified ‘stakeholders’. Stakeholders were identified as individuals who had experience and knowledge of the speciality of SEM and the NHS. An inductive thematic analysis approach was taken to analyse the data. N=15 stakeholder interviews. The management of musculoskeletal (MSK) injuries (both acute and chronic) and concussion were highlighted as the two key services that SEM clinics can offer that would most benefit the NHS. MSK ultrasound was also mentioned by all stakeholders as a critical service that SEM clinics should provide. While exercise medicine is an integral part of SEM, SEM clinics should perhaps not have a heavy exercise medicine focus. The key barriers to setting up SEM clinics were stated to be convincing NHS management, conflict with other specialities and a lack of awareness of the speciality. The management of acute MSK injuries and concussion should be the cornerstone of SEM services, ideally with the ability to provide MSK ultrasound. Education of others on the speciality of SEM, confirming consistent ‘unique selling points’ of SEM clinics and promoting how SEM can add value to the NHS is vital. If the successful integration of SEM into the NHS is not widely achieved, we risk the NHS not receiving all the benefits that SEM can provide to the healthcare system.