The NHS England Long Term Plan: Primary care

Physiotherapists working in first contact practitioner (FCP) roles are tried and tested within primary care. The NHS Long Term Plan should ensure everyone in England has access to a FCP from their GP – so that a majority of musculoskeletal (MSK) issues are dealt with entirely within primary care.


Primary care is one of the most visible pinchpoints in the NHS, with many patients reporting long waiting times to see their under-pressure GP.

Increasingly, physiotherapists are doing their part to ease those pressures by working alongside GPs as the first point of contact for patients with a musculoskeletal condition.

This removes the need for a referral and speeds up access to specialist care.

The long-term plan affords an opportunity to reshape the primary care landscape to further increase capacity and ensure more patients see the right professional at the right time.

What we’re calling for in the plan:

  • Improving MSK support through general practice to become a national priority
  • All patients in England to be able to access physiotherapy as a first point of contact in general practice
  • NHS England to include first contact physiotherapists in national guidance and fund support to roll out the model across the country.

The CSP says:

‘FCP roles are proven to be safe and effective, reduce pressure on GPs and secondary care and deliver high levels of patient satisfaction.

‘It’s a win for all parties and an excellent example of an innovation that is helping the NHS meet some of its biggest challenges while delivering high quality patient care.’

Read our full response to the NHS Long Term Plan.

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