FCP’s are physiotherapists working as part of the GP practice team and they provide a physiotherapy triage or MSK screening service. The vast majority of FCP’s are physiotherapists with enhanced skills. 

What do FCP’s do?

FCP’s work alongside GP’s in Primary Care. They help to assess, diagnose, and provide early intervention and advice for patients with MSK complaints. They are also able to refer patients onto specialist services at the earliest opportunity if this is required. FCP’s therefore effectively take the ‘load’ off GP’s, allowing GP’s more time to focus on other core areas within general practice.

At the White House Clinic, our FCP’s work collaboratively with their GP’s at all times to ensure an integrated service. This ensures that GP’s do not lose sight of the cohort of MSK cases or deskill them in any way.

Our FCP service allows GP staff to see and refer directly into the physiotherapist’s diary, as well as tasking and communicating with the physio directly. The FCP therefore becomes the GP’s MSK practitioner in Primary Care, and GP’s can develop their own internal MSK pathway.

How do First Contact Practitioner services help Patients?

Having a First Contact Practitioner within GP premises and in Primary Care means that patients with MSK pain, including conditions such as back pain and arthritis, can contact and access their local physiotherapist directly and rapidly, rather than waiting to see a GP or being referred to hospital or community physiotherapy services.

This early access to physiotherapy, alongside rapid intervention, advice, and treatment (where necessary) has been proven to reduce sickness absence, accelerate recovery and improve the long-term health and well-being prospects of patients with MSK complaints (Addley et al., 2010; Boorman, 2009; NHS Employers, 2012).

How do First Contact Practitioner services help GP’s?

First Contact Practitioners can help GP’s to manage their workload more effectively by freeing up appointment slots. They can also reduce and lower the number of unnecessary investigations and prescriptions, and reduce the number of patients being referred onward to other services.

Our FCP services have been proven to help GP’s by:

  • Providing rapid access to physiotherapy assessment and intervention
  • Reducing referrals to GP’s themselves
  • Avoiding unnecessary waiting lists
  • Reducing repeated prescriptions
  • Avoiding unnecessary referrals to secondary care
  • Maximising the efficiency of investigations
  • Managing and co-ordinating MSK healthcare in-house, with on-site MSK specialist practitioners

First Contact Practitioner services are reported to deliver a return on investment of £0.81-£2.37 for every £1 spent on implementing First Contact Practitioner services (Davies C, 2017); with some studies suggesting a higher return (Public Health England, 2017).

If you need or want any further details about our FCP services, then please contact us.

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