FCP Learning: primary care readiness

CSP members have been working with Health Education England (HEE) to develop responsive, flexible approaches to learning and development. 

FCP Learning: primary care readiness


E-learning programme

As the national drive to support primary care continues to evolve, educational resources to support these roles have been identified as a current need. In response to this Health Education England has commissioned an eight module e-learning programme for first contact physiotherapists. Dr Neil Langridge has led the programme of work which is to be published in July. Experts from a range of fields have contributed to the resource and it is hoped it will be welcomed for any clinician working with patients, particularly those in first contact roles.

The modules have been designed to complement the musculoskeletal (MSK) core capabilities framework to support clinicians embarking in this field of clinical practice. All the modules have been produced with a person-centred approach and it is recommended that clinicians complete the PCA modules that are also available on the e-Learning for Healthcare hub

The MSK modules are all approximately 30 minutes in duration and culminate in a short quiz with an 80 per cent pass mark. It is envisaged the modules will support primary care clinicians but also it is hoped that the modules are seen as pertinent in numerous areas of physiotherapy practice.  Many of the modules have case study examples and also are designed to signpost users to further learning. The sessions open with an introduction to primary care and then subsequently follow with identification of medical risk/frailty, mental and public health, complexity in decision-making, pharmacology, persistent pain management and serious/inflammatory pathology.

The modules will be published in July and are free to access for NHS clinicians.  For more information visit and select ‘primary care musculoskeletal’.

AHP first contact practice in primary care 

Over the past year the University of Central Lancashire has developed a level 7 post-graduate module to develop professional, clinical and leadership skills for advanced clinical practice within first contact roles. Funded by HEE, the module currently available to AHPs across the north of England and potentially further afield, are working with the CSP to share learning and insights for future learning provision across the system. 

This innovative module is aimed at physiotherapists and other AHPs working in NHS settings who are already working in first contact roles or who plan to work in these roles. 

The module includes a blended approach of face-to-face sessions, online learning and clinical practice education. As part of the programme applicants also need to identify a suitable mentor who will support their learning and assessment.

The third cohort is currently open to applications.

Next steps

Over the next year HEE will continue to support the development of training and education for physiotherapists and other AHPs, alongside wider work to develop advanced clinical practice. 

Neil Langridge, consultant physiotherapist, musculoskeletal services, Southern Health NHS Trust: ‘I hope this resource complements the learning and knowledge base around FCP, particularly supporting clinicians embarking into the role for the first-time.’

Chris Mercer, consultant physiotherapist: ‘It is great to see resources being developed to support these new roles. Supported training for competency and strong clinical governance will be key to both the success and sustainability of these posts.’

Laura Finucane, consultant physiotherapist, Sussex MSK Partnership: ‘This resource captures the complexity and broad knowledge that  clinicians working as FCPs (or working towards FCP roles) will need to practice effectively and confidently. I think anyone working at an advanced level of practice would find it a useful resource in conjunction with other learning methods.’

Naomi McVey, North West AHP workforce lead, HEE: ‘We commissioned this module because it was clear that STPs in the region planned to develop their primary care workforce, and that AHPs were ready to support this. Working within primary care can be very different to secondary care, for all healthcare professionals, and we worked closely with GPs, practice nurses and AHPs to develop what was needed in the region.’  

Pete Harris, module participant: ‘With the Long Term Plan for the NHS over the next 10 years, it is now an exciting time to support general practice and allow patients to access specialist care, getting it right the first time. The FCP course at UCLAN has provided a deep foundation to appreciate the health and needs of the local population whilst providing a set of skills that will prove valuable to ensure patient safety.’

Gillian Rawlinson, prinicipal lecturer – Lead Rehabilitation Sciences team: ‘We have been delighted to work with HEE to design and deliver this module which supports the development of both the existing and emerging FCP workforce, ensuring clinicians have the right skills, knowledge and capabilities to deliver safe and effective person-centred care in the primary care environment. GP mentorship and practice-based learning play a large part in the module and the learners’ development. Our aim is to develop highly skilled, and critically reflective practitioners, who are able to evaluate and demonstrate their impact, and to identify their own future learning needs. A robust evaluation of the project will help inform the future educational provision for those taking up these roles.’

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