First Contact Physiotherapist

First contact physiotherapists (FCPs) are specialist physiotherapists with extensive expertise in the clinical assessment, diagnosis and management of musculoskeletal (MSK) conditions.

Patients with MSK conditions can bypass the appointment with a GP, and go straight to get help with a specialist physiotherapist.

Instead of the traditional method where you are seen by a GP then referred for a physio appointment which can take up to 6 weeks or more, you can book an appointment directly with a physiotherapist via the receptionist, which means you won’t need to wait for a referral from a doctor.

You may be eligible for an appointment with a First contact physiotherapist for the following problems:

  • All soft tissue injuries, sprains, strains or sports injuries
  • Arthritis – any joint
  • Possible problems with muscles, ligaments, tendons or bone, eg 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, eg pins and needles or numbness
  • Changes to walking
  • Post-orthopaedic surgery

What MSK First Contact Physiotherapists can offer you:

  1. Diagnosis, advice and expert management of MSK conditions
  2. Give expert advice on how best to manage your condition
  3. Increased capacity – seeing patients who would have seen the GP
  4. Refer you on to specialist services if necessary – track record of fewer referrals
  5. Request investigations and interpret results – track record of fewer requests
  6. Prescribing medicines and injecting – track record in de-prescribing
  7. Autonomous practitioners, trained to identify red flags – strong safety records
  8. High satisfaction rates among patients and GPs where First Contact Physiotherapists (FCPs) are in post

Please note MSK First Contact Physiotherapists are not appropriate if you are:

  • acutely unwell
  • a child under 16
  • need medical management of rheumatoid conditions
  • Women’s health, antenatal and postnatal problems
  • House-bound patients
  • Medication reviews for non-MSK conditions
  • Neurological and respiratory conditions
  • Headaches
  • Acute mental health crises
  • Patients who do not want to see a FCP