University and ABMU collaboration leading the way in improving musculoskeletal services

A unique collaborative initiative between Swansea University and Abertawe Bro Morgannwg University (ABMU) Health Board is set to benefit patients requiring musculoskeletal services in the Health Board area.


Osteopathic centre opening 1

The initiative, which was launched this week (Monday, September 29) by the Health Board’s Chairman Professor Andrew Davies, will enable patients with musculoskeletal conditions to have timely access to assessment and treatment and reductions in their referral to treatment (RTT) times for hospital consultations and treatment.

The initiative will also provide educational opportunities for final year Osteopathy students from the University’s College of Human and Health Sciences through exposure to working in an interdisciplinary environment and in an integrated NHS setting.   


Osteopathic centre opening group

The new clinic, located at the Beacon Centre for Health in Swansea’s SA1, will run for two days a week, consist of three treatment rooms, and the students will be supervised by qualified and registered practitioners from within the University’s College of Human and Health Sciences.

It is envisaged that the clinic, which will form part of AMBU’s Musculoskeletal Clinical Assessment Service, will be able to manage in excess of 400 new patients during the 12-month pilot period. 

The initiative will contribute to the Prudent Healthcare agenda advocated by the Minister for Health and Social Services and to ABMU Musculoskeletal Directorate’s extensive modernisation and innovation programme, which aims to improve patient access, reducing waiting times (for outpatient clinics and surgery), improve patient pathways and to deliver the right care in the right place, at the right time and by the right clinician. 

Participating students will also have the opportunity to undertake placements at local hospitals, to further develop their skills and orthopaedic knowledge. The collaborative venture will also encompass research and cross-learning components – with the aim of generating improved patient outcomes.

An evaluation of the pilot will be undertaken to assess whether this model of multidisciplinary patient management care can be integrated into the core ABMU Musculoskeletal services in the future.

Osteopathic centre opening 2

Speaking at the clinic’s launch, ABMU Chairman Professor Andrew Davies said: “This is yet another great example of how the increasingly close working relationship between ABMU Health Board and Swansea University is developing better services, with more rapid and improved diagnosis and treatments.

“The MCAS service in SA1 is already providing a faster, more accessible service for local people and this new Osteopathy clinic will provide an additional range of treatments.”


Professor Richard B Davies, Swansea University’s Vice-Chancellor, said: “I am very pleased that the close collaboration between Swansea University and ABMU is delivering real clinical benefits to the community. The opportunity for our students to undertake placements in local hospitals will also deliver the skilled and patient-centred practitioners needed to meet the workforce needs of the Welsh NHS.”

Professor Ceri Phillips, Head of the College of Human and Health Sciences at Swansea University added: “Musculoskeletal conditions represent a significant burden to the NHS, with considerable resources being channelled into treatments for people in Wales suffering with arthritis, chronic pain and other related conditions – estimated to be in the region of 0.5 million.

“This collaboration between the University and the Health Board serves to enhance the service provided to patients by speeding up access to assessment, diagnosis and appropriate treatments, which can have significant effects on the trajectory of their condition and its management. Further, the pressures on waiting times are alleviated to a degree and greater precision in the targeting of patients for treatment can be achieved.

“Research that will take place in parallel will determine the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of such a service, to inform decisions regarding whether such schemes can be rolled out across Wales.”

For more information on Osteopathy programmes at Swansea University visit

  • Osteopathy can be used to diagnose and treat a wide range of medical conditions. It is based on the principle that the well-being of an individual depends on the skeleton, muscles, ligaments and connective tissues functioning smoothly together.  Osteopaths use touch, physical manipulation, stretching and massage to increase the mobility of joints, to relieve muscle tension, to enhance the blood and nerve supply to tissues, and to help the body’s own healing mechanisms. They may also provide advice on posture and exercise to aid recovery, promote health and prevent symptoms recurring. 

Picture 1: (L-r) Professor Andrew Davies - ABMU Chairman, with Professor Ceri Phillips - Head of the College of Human and Health Sciences.

Picture 2: (L-r) Student Charlotte Eady, Student Louise Prosser, Student Emma Stevenson, Student Devon Grey,  Professor Andrew Davies – ABMU Chairman, Professor Ceri Phillips - Head of the College of Human and Health Sciences, Mike Bond - General Manager MSK.

Picture 3: (L-r) Mike Bond - General Manager MSK, Professor Andrew Davies - ABMU Chairman and Andy Phillips - Director of Therapies and Health Sciences.