First Contact Practitioners (FCP)

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.

How to book an appointment

Please complete our online query (medical query) form and the GP will triage your symptoms  and direct to a FCP where appropriate.

What to expect from your FCP?

Your first contact practitioner will undertake an assessment via telephone or face to face consultation as appropriate. The FCP will provide you with a diagnosis of what is happening and expert advice on how best to manage your condition for example individualised exercises, education, activity modification and time scales for expected recovery. Depending on assessment and findings the FCP can refer to specialist services / investigations if necessary. Specialist services may include referrals into orthopaedics, physiotherapy, podiatry, rheumatology, and the pain clinic.

FCP appointment criteria – this is dependent on the scope of the FCP.

  • All soft tissue injuries, sprains, strains, or sports injuries
  • Arthritis – any joint
  • Possible problems with muscles, ligaments, tendons or bone, e.g., tennis elbow, carpal tunnel syndrome, ankle sprains
  • Spinal pain including lower back pain, mid-back pain and neck pain
  • Spinal-related pain in arms or legs, including nerve symptoms, e.g., pins and needles or numbness
  • Changes to walking
  • Post-orthopaedic surgery
  • Steroid injections (Scope of FCP in practise)

Exclusion criteria –

  • Patients that are acutely unwell
  • Children under 16
  • Medical management of rheumatological conditions
  • House-bound patients
  • Medication reviews for non-MSK conditions
  • Neurological and respiratory conditions
  • Headaches
  • Acute mental health crises

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

Last update August 2022