Innovations database

From the innovations in physiotherapy database: evaluation of first contact physiotherapy roles within primary care in Taunton.

Simon Ingram, advanced physiotherapy practitioner with a patient

Simon Ingram, advanced physiotherapy practitioner at Taunton and Somerset NHS Trust, and his team completed a two-year service evaluation of the introduction of musculoskeletal (MSK) first contact physiotherapy (FCP) roles within primary care in Taunton.

Composition of contacts

  • 40%    seen first by the FCP
  • 34%    referred by a GP or nurse practitioner
  • 22%     follow-up consultations
  • 4%     did Not Attend

In 2018/19, the percentage of patients seen first by FCP has increased to 48.7 per cent. The number of patients coming to the FCP direct from reception is gradually increasing as care navigation and patient awareness of FCP provision improves. 

The impact of innovation

‘We started our FCP service as a pilot in 2015 providing just two sessions a week in one GP practice. This has now increased to four GP practices. Starting on a small scale enabled us to get the project off the ground and meant we could test and adapt the concept as our FCP provision expanded. FCP in primary care has given patients more timely access to specialist MSK advice, closer to home. Its potential benefits are system-wide. Becoming part of the primary care team also means we can work more closely with our GP and nursing colleagues, resulting in upskilling across professions. The role creates a potential new career pathway which has aided recruitment and retention of staff across MSK services. Through sharing our service evaluation we have been able to start conversations with various stakeholders, such as GPs and commissioners, about the possible wider benefits of FCP. As a result, we now have an agreed FCP model for Somerset and plans for further implementation county-wide alongside the introduction of primary care networks. The project has highlighted to us the value of collecting consistent and robust data when starting any new service or project.’

For the latest 

FCP discussion, news and events join the first contact physiotherapy iCSP forum and see guidance on data collection for FCP services 

Interested in innovating?

The Innovations in Physiotherapy Database is an online platform which showcases initiatives from across all areas of the profession. Check out the database for more quality-assured examples and guidance on how to submit your own work at

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