Primary Care Workforce/Career Pathways

MSK First Contact Practitioner (FCP)

The role of the FCP Physiotherapist is to provide highly skilled MSK assessment as first point of contact for the patient within primary care. Patients are directed by either practice receptionist staff or as part of an online booking system to the FCP and is booked into a 20-minute appointment.

Following assessment and diagnosis, the patient moves into one of 4 clinical arms although the majority of patients are managed within the first:

  1. Clear explanation of diagnosis, time frames for recovery and first line management
  2. Referral for further investigation to help differential diagnosis
  3. Referral to secondary care
  4. Referral to specialist services such as community Physiotherapy.

There are a number of potential clinical structures that a PCN could utilise the skills and expertise of a Physiotherapy FCP dependent on local population size and distribution as well as prevalence of MSK condition. Further details can be found in the Musculoskeletal First Contact Services implementation guide released by Health Education England in January 2020. You can download the leaflet by clicking on the link below

FCP How to Guide v21 040919 - 2.pdf