Haringey and Islington Integrated Musculoskeletal (MSK) Service

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Under Review — this page was due to be reviewed by 28/07/2021. The information shown here may be outdated.

Service update: Covid (November 2021)

Waiting times for MSK services at Whittington Health are being published on the trust website along with other information about the services.

This information will be updated at least monthly. 

November wait times are:

  • MSK Physio 8.1 weeks
  • CATS Physio 10.5 weeks 

Service update: Covid (November 2020)

In order to keep patients and staff safe we are using a “talk before you walk” principle during this difficult time, and therefore offering virtual consultations (telephone or video appointment with an MSK clinician) as the first appointment. If the clinician and patient feel that a face-to-face (mask-to-mask) appointment is needed, we will book one appointment after completing a risk assessment. Patients are sometimes unsure how much physiotherapy can be done via video, please share a brilliant video on the benefit of a virtual consultation in MSK with them to help encourage them to call and book their appointment .

Service update: MSK management strategies (April 2020)

Many musculoskeletal (MSK) complaints can be managed in primary care without the need for an MRI scan or onward MSK referral. Strategies that can be used to manage MSK conditions include:

  • adequate analgesia 
  • activity modification 
  • relative rest 
  • reassurance. 

In April 2020, Haringey and Islington Directorates within NCL CCG agreed that imaging does not always correlate with the patients presentation and clinical diagnosis, therefore does not always guide appropriate management. GPs are no longer able to request imaging for:

  • lumbar spine, unless red flags are present and sinister pathology
  • knees in patients aged >50.

Imaging is indicated for red flags and for changing patient management. Whittington Health has provided a useful guide to whether MRI is indicated or not.

Service description

The Haringey and Islington MSK service provides a single point of access care model for all MSK referrals (including MSK CATS, MSK Physiotherapy, MSK Podiatry, Trauma and Orthopaedics, Pain Management and Rheumatology).

Referrals are triaged by an advanced physiotherapy practitioner with consultant oversight to ensure patients are referred to the most appropriate service. Secondary care referrals are forwarded to the relevant provider. This helps to improve the patient journey and experience.

For further details on MSK Physiotherapy, MSK CATS and MSK Podiatry please visit the MSK section of the Whittington Health website, see below.

Whittington Health MSK Physiotherapy and MSK CATS work in seven different sites accross Haringey and Islington:

  • Holloway Community Health Centre
  • Horney Central Health Centre
  • Bounds Green Health Centre
  • Finsbury Health Cantre
  • Whittington Hospital
  • St Ann's Hospital
  • Lordship Lane Health Centre.

Eligibility criteria


Patients with an Islington or Haringey  GP

  • aged 18+
  • with an MSK need


  • patients with red flags
  • practure clinic patients
  • aged <18

How to refer

The following clinicians can refer to this service: GPs, Nurses

EMIS form

Referral methods: e-Referrals

GPs should refer via e-RS to the MSK Triage Service, using the HI MSK SPoA form.

Where to find the form

Haringey: HAR Global Documents > MSK - Physio
Islington: ISL Global Documents > MSK & Podiatry


For further information, and self referral form, refer to the Whittington Health website.

External Links