Musculoskeletal conditions encompass different types of arthritis, lower back pain, osteoporosis, gout, etc. They are the most common reason for people living with disability in the UK.

According to Versus Arthritis, These conditions affect the quality of life and work of an estimated 17.8 million people in the UK, which is well over a quarter of the population. There are a number of associated issues linked to the conditions including lack of physical activity, obesity and multimorbidity.

Musculoskeletal conditions also greatly impact on health and care services and the general economy.

Saints Foundation Pathway to Health for Arthritis

Saints Foundation, an independent charity working in partnership with Southampton Football Club, aims to fulfil and change the lives of those at risk across Southampton and surrounding areas. One of their programmes tackles health and wellbeing. Part of this is Pathway to Health.

Jessica Hulbert, Pathway to Health Project Officer for Saints Foundation, is well versed in the issues facing elderly people, researching dance for the elderly as a subject of her University dissertation, working after graduation as a Therapy Technician on the older persons ward at Southampton General Hospital. Then her work focussed more on falls prevention at Hampshire Council Council. She always has had an interest in Arthritis. She explains “Pathway to Health was initially established to help people aged over 50 with the prevention of falls, upskilling community instructors. We quickly realised that there was nothing in place to tackle arthritis. The thing is arthritis also affects younger people not just the elderly.”

The severity of the problem in Southampton is on par with the national estimate with 30.2% of the population living with some form of arthritis according to the MSK Calculator online tool (extract below).

Saints Arthritis Data

Saints Foundation Parthway to Health successfully applied for funding with NHS Southampton City Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) to set up Pathway to Health Arthritis project, with Escape Pain training included. This will upskill Saints Foundation health and wellbeing staff and local self-employed exercise professionals working in the community, already delivering a variety of exercise classes.

Jessica Hulbert continues: “With the Pathways to Health Falls programme, we are already linked for online referrals with 10 GP surgeries. We are confident these surgeries will also participate to recommend patients into Pathway to Health Arthritis. Currently we are in conversation with the Southampton CCG Musculoskeletal Service who works with individuals diagnosed with Arthritis, but this is a physiotherapy intervention that does have an end to it. The Musculoskeletal Department will then signpost their patients on to the Escape Pain programme initially where they will receive a 6-week intervention that educates them in exercise and pain management education for Arthritis.”

For Jessica, it is important that after these 6 weeks, there is a follow up with patients with trained and qualified exercise professionals. This is when patients will then become part of a community exercise class, making a lifestyle change rather than short term intervention.

Saints Foundation Pathway to Health for Arthritis teaming up with WRIGHT Foundation for CPD training

The project targets exercise professionals and comprises 3-day Arthritis CPD training  with WRIGHT Foundation and a 1-day Escape pain training course. Saints Foundation will support the set up of fitness and exercise classes in the community. The plan is for these classes to be available by the start of April 2019, for a very low fee, to recommended people living in Southampton.

Saints Arthritis pic
Saints Foundation Pathway to Health team at the Exercise Programming for Arthritis and Chronic Lower Back Pain CPD training
At the request of Saints Foundation, WRIGHT Foundation CIC developed Exercise Programming for Arthritis and Lower Back Pain CPD training which was delivered over 3 days at the end of January 2019 and gathered fitness staff from Saints Foundation Pathway to Health programme and local fitness instructors. Jessica concludes, “I am grateful for WRIGHT Foundation for developing and delivering this course. It fits with what we needed. In the longer term, we would like to see exercise classes being set up for people living with any condition: Cancer, Chronic Lower Back Pain, Obesity & Diabetes, etc. The Pathway to Health Arthritis project is only the beginning!”

Lorraine Nicholson, Training Director at WRIGHT Foundation, said “We at WRIGHT Foundation wholeheartedly support the work of the Saints Foundation, their Pathway to Health programme and the Escape Pain Project.  Great people doing  great work for their community and a pleasure to work with.   We are looking forward to working with them on further initiatives in the future.”

For further information on the 3-day Exercise Programming for Arthritis and  Lower Back Pain CPD training, or other WRIGHT Foundation Level 3 Diploma GP Exercise Referral and Level 4 Specialist Conditions courses, please contact us on 01307469055 or

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