Health Education England publishes step-by-step FCP guide

A new guide published today by Health Education England will support the implementation of first contact physiotherapist roles that are tailored to the needs of local populations.


The document, called Musculoskeletal First Contact Practitioners Services - Implementation Guide, is aimed at a range of audiences from those involved in funding and commissioning MSK services to MSK providers, GPs and Primary Care Networks.

HEE commissioned the CSP to produce the guide, which is based on hundreds of conversations, survey responses and meetings, as well as information gathered from more than 40 FCP services currently taking part in the NHS England evaluation.

It is billed as  a 'how-to' guide for introducing new roles, covering capability frameworks, governance issues and practical advice that draws on case studies in areas already offering the service.

CSP chief executive Karen Middleton said:‘The publication of this guide is a crucial step in providing the necessary support that different teams and people need to ensure the expansion of FCP services across the country.

‘We know from the pilots that it's working really well, with exceptionally high patient satisfaction results and fewer referrals are being made for additional tests.  

‘However, we do also know there is no one size fits all when it comes to implementing an FCP service, which is why we helped to develop this guide that shares practical advice from a range of existing FCP services which serve very different populations.

‘We hope that it will assist people to successfully implement a service that fits and works perfectly for the needs of people in their local area.’

Data collected from 54,300 recorded FCP appointments at the evaluation sites showed that 95 per cent of patients did not require a follow-up with their GP and were significantly more likely to be offered expert advice to be able to self-manage their symptoms and increase their physical activity.

Patients were also referred less frequently for further investigations and received fewer blood tests or drug prescriptions.

The guide is available for download.

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