NHS England Long-term Plan - key implications for physiotherapy

This brief summary document highlights the key implications for physiotherapy resulting from the NHS England Long-term Plan.


  • Prevention and rehabilitation are key themes throughout the plan.
  • The physiotherapy workforce is identified as essential to successfully delivering the plan. 
  • There is support for expanding the physiotherapy workforce in primary and community care.
  • There is commitment to increasing the funding of both primary and community services as a proportion of the overall health budget.
  • Digital infrastructure will be deployed to improve data collection, access to services, personal health records and to support self-care.
  • There is a commitment to invest in physiotherapy workforce development. However, specific commitments on CPD and career development are still focused on nurses and doctors.
  • There is no mention at all of the unregistered physio/AHP workforce.

Primary Care 

  • The first contact physio (FCP) model will be endorsed as part of a new vision for integrated primary and community services.  It will be implemented beyond the existing pilots.
  • FCPs will be part of the ‘GP Forward View’ workforce targets for the first time.
  • Physiotherapists will be part of the primary care workforce in rapid response teams.
  • Digital technology will enable GP appointments to be bookable via NHS 11.1
  • Primary care networks will have a role in the early diagnosis of COPD (a similar approach to the frailty index in General Practice).

Community Rehab

  • Community rehabilitation is highlighted as an area for significant development.
  • There is a proposal for integrated community hubs, with physiotherapy as part of multi-disciplinary teams.
  • There is a specific commitment to expand pulmonary, cardio and stroke rehab.
  • Needs assessments for stroke and cancer patients will include rehabilitation after discharge.


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