Episode 133: A look at how musculoskeletal consultations and prescribing changed during the Covid pandemic

In this episode, we talk to Dr Victoria Welsh and Dr Claire Burton, who are both GPs and lecturers in primary care at the Centre for Musculoskeletal Health Research at Keele University.

Title of paper: Trends in musculoskeletal consultations and prescribing: an electronic primary care records study

Available at:

Rheumatic and musculoskeletal disorders (RMDs) are a common cause of pain and disability, with core non-pharmacological management supported by analgesic medications. To the author’s knowledge, no previous studies have observed the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the care of patients with rheumatic and musculoskeletal disorders (RMDs) in primary care, including consultation patterns and analgesic prescribing. This study demonstrates that fewer patients consulted with RMDs during lockdown, and a greater proportion were prescribed strong analgesia (including opioids) during pandemic-related restrictions. Clinicians appeared to respond to patient needs during the pandemic amidst restrictions placed upon non-pharmacological treatments, and commissioners must consider the impact of these behaviour changes during future pandemic planning.

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