ICATS (Integrated Clinical Assessment & Treatment Services)

Musculoskeletal problems (often abbreviated to MSK) are defined as conditions which affect the muscles and bones of the body. This also includes tendons, ligaments, joints and sometimes the nervous system.

Many people with musculoskeletal problems don’t need to see an Orthopaedic Surgeon in the first instance, as a large part of their assessment and treatment can be based on non-surgical treatments and self-management.

Orthopaedic ICATS is a Trust-wide community-based team made up of physiotherapists, podiatrists and GPs, all with extended orthopaedic training and skills. ICATS complements the skills on offer in core physiotherapy and podiatry services, and also has an advisory role with these services. 

The specialist ICATS clinicians have a specific role in diagnosing and managing more complicated MSK conditions, and problems which have not improved with usual physiotherapy or podiatry treatments.

For patients seen in ICATS, a thorough assessment and examination is carried out to establish a diagnosis where possible, and a tailored plan of care is discussed, agreed and organised.

Orthopaedic ICATS can support people in deciding whether their condition needs:

  • self-management advice
  • appliances to help with recovery
  • steroid injection
  • diagnostic tests including x-ray, MRI  and ultrasound scans.

This may lead to referral for further treatment, such as physiotherapy, or to another appropriate service.

Patients who need a surgical/consultant opinion are referred on to the appropriate orthopaedic surgeon/pathway, having been fully investigated before seeing the consultant.