Physios are vital to ‘first contact care’, says National Association of Primary Care chief

Physiotherapy is ‘absolutely vital’ as part of ‘first contact care’, according to Dr James Kingsland, president of the National Association of Primary Care.


Dr James Kingsland said the current system of referral from primary to secondary services was no way to integrate services

‘It’s not just about having a physiotherapist in general practice, it’s about a physiotherapy service as part of an integrated multi-speciality, multi-screening team [designed] around a local population,’ the GP and former government adviser told Frontline.

Dr Kingsland was speaking at the Westminster Health Forum on 13 September about delivering new models of care and vanguard sites. He told delegates about the progress of Primary Care Home, a multi-speciality community provider model.

Among the key aims of Primary Care Home is to create an integrated workforce, with a strong focus on partnerships spanning primary, secondary and social care.

Dr Kingsland said that 15 rapid test sites have been running in England since January, based on populations of between 30,000 and 50,000. Next month, the programme will spread to 100 sites covering five million residents.

‘This is not the panacea for primary care or first contact care delivery, but it is the most excited and interested that I have been as a clinician of 32 years standing and 28 years as a GP,’ he told delegates.

Talking to Frontline about current primary care services, Dr Kingsland said: ‘There are people who present to their general practice who actually have a musculoskeletal problem, or a continence problem, or other problems that can be dealt with by a physio.

‘At the moment I write a referral letter to a remote organisation, to a physiotherapist I don’t know, who sees the patient with a different care record, gives them an intervention, sends them back to me and I get a note that we scan into our records a few weeks later.

‘That is no way to have an integrated service.’

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