Guidance to ensure that physiotherapists providing first contact services for people with musculoskeletal (MSK) conditions are properly equipped, was published on 30 July.
The framework provides an opportunity for clinicians to take up emerging first contact practitioner roles with confidence
Titled the MSK core capabilities framework for first point of contact practitioners, it aims to ensure that physiotherapists can play a full role in helping to manage MSK problems appropriately right from a patient’s first appointment.
Commissioned by Health Education England and NHS England, it recognises that high quality MSK care and successfully meeting the increasing demands on healthcare services, relies on developing a skilled and well-integrated multidisciplinary workforce.
It expects that first point of contact practitioners assess, diagnose, develop and agree a management plan, offer initial treatment advice – including self-management and treatment if the pathway allows – and discharge or make an onward referral, if required.
By setting out the capabilities required, the framework is designed to encourage training and development to increase the number of practitioners from different professions to fulfil this vital role.
The capabilities in the framework are applicable to all health professionals with a role as a first point of contact for adults presenting with undiagnosed MSK conditions.
They are relevant to different types of services and settings, including primary care, community care and occupational health.
Sarah Withers, the CSP’s head of first contact physiotherapy implementation said: ‘The CSP is delighted to have been involved in the development of this important framework with the MSK community and national arms-length bodies.
‘It provides an opportunity for clinicians to take up emerging first contact practitioner roles with confidence, by providing a clear framework that sets expectations in support of patient care.
‘I look forward to continuing the work with Health Education England to support implementation locally.'
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