Editor's comment: move over Doctor Finlay

Autumn heralds the major expansion of an initiative that is giving physios a high profile role in general practice.

First contact physios (FCPs) also provide visible evidence to patients that rhetoric about ‘joined-up care and multi-agency working’ is genuine. 

A small cohort are already in place, but with the support of the CSP, FCPs are proposed in GP surgeries in 35 sites across England (pages 8 and 22) where musculoskeletal patients will get direct access to a FCP. The potential goes much wider in terms of treatments and also in terms of continuity of care. Similar initiatives are happening, or in planning, across the UK to take the pressure off GPs.

Many older doctors, who may have run their own practice, are quitting early. Young doctors want a career, and family life, without having to run small businesses. As a result, more patients complain of seeing a locum instead of a Doctor Finlay (one for younger readers to look up). But studies demonstrate that continuity of care means raised patient satisfaction, lower levels of hospital admissions and fewer deaths. FCPs can reinforce that continuity. 

FCPs will know their patients’ lives, their injuries and ailments, without referring to notes or asking them to repeat their woes ad nauseam. That is a vital part of the deeper and wider notion of genuine care. FCPs want to roll their metaphorical sleeves up – I know they don’t have actual sleeves because of infection control – and get working. Stay tuned for developments. Meantime the beach beckons. The next edition appears on 5 September. Happy holidays.

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