About the First Contact Practitioner Service in Primary Care Networks
Commissioned by NHS E to reduce the burden of musculoskeletal disorders in Primary Care.
An FCP is a Physiotherapist professionally qualified to assess, diagnose and manage patients presenting as a first point of contact in Primary Care with undifferentiated and undiagnosed musculoskeletal complaints.
FCP’s will have typically completed post-registration professional development to Masters level (level 7) including full a MSc or Master levels qualifications.
Can refer onwards to physiotherapy if required but will not follow the patient up/ provide a course of physiotherapy in GP practice
Provide self management advice, social prescribing, physical activity interventions and fitness for work discussions
As regulated, advanced and autonomous HCPs, are trained to provide expert MSK assessment, diagnosis, first line treatment/ self-care advice and if appropriate, onward referral
Appropriately trained in advanced health assessment, diagnostics, injecting and prescribing (continuous training may be required)
Benefits of FCPs
- Reduced referrals to secondary care
- Reduced requests for imaging
- Improved conversion rates for surgery
- Reduction in pain medication usage
Benefits for patients
- Improvements in quality of life / ADLs
- Timely appointment in local GP surgery
- Long term condition management in chronic conditions
- Wellbeing and general health advice
- Prevention of other non MSK illnesses
Benefits for PCNs
- Good use of workforce (impact MSK caseload)
- Streamlined pathways (Single point of access for MSK patients)
- Reduced secondary care referrals
- More integrated care from primary to secondary care
- Two-way networking and learning
- Potential financial savings – reduced secondary care referrals / medication prescription /radiology referrals
- Consider MSK practitioners as providing an MSK assessment and triage service.
- Similar role to ANP’s in minor illness.
- FCP is not a Physiotherapy service.
- In the vast majority of cases patients should be booked straight from receptionist.
- Please do not assess a patient, request imaging and then book in with FCP.