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First Contact Physiotherapists

A First contact Physiotherapist is a specialised physiotherapist who can assess, diagnose and manage musculoskeletal (MSK) problems and undifferentiated conditions. They are based in primary care and offer direct access for patients without the need of patients seeing a GP first.

Key Roles and Responsibilities

Full details available in the Network Contract Directed Enhanced Service Contract specification.

In summary:

  • Work independently, without day to day supervision, to assess, diagnose, triage, and manage patients.
  • Work as part of a multi-disciplinary team.
  • Develop integrated and tailored care programmes in partnership with patients, providing a range of first line treatment options including self management, referral to rehabilitation focussed services and social prescribing;
  • Make use of their full scope of practice, developing skills relating to independent prescribing, injection therapy and investigation to make.
  • Communicate effectively with patients, and their carers where applicable.
  • Implement all aspects of effective clinical governance for own practice, including undertaking regular audit and evaluation, supervision and training.
  • Develop integrated and tailored care programmes in partnership with patients through effective shared decision-making
  • Request investigations and referrals to facilitate the diagnosis and choice of treatment regime including, considering the limitations of these investigations, interpret and act on results and feedback to aid patients' diagnoses and management plans
  • Be accountable for decisions and actions via Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) registration, supported by a professional culture of peer networking/review and engagement in evidence-based practice.

Education and Training Requirements

  • Has completed an undergraduate degree in physiotherapy
  • Is registered with the Health and Care Professional Council; holds the relevant public liability insurance;
  • Has a Masters Level qualification or the equivalent specialist knowledge, skills and experience
  • Can demonstrate working at Level 7 capability in MSK related areas of practice or equivalent (such as advanced assessment diagnosis and treatment)
  • Can demonstrate ability to operate at an advanced level of practice, in order to deliver the key responsibilities
  • Physiotherapists working as a FCP are required to completed the Musculoskeletal FCP Roadmap to Practice

Additional Resources