First contact physiotherapy

Find out why and how first contact physiotherapy (FCP) posts are being introduced in GP practices to help meet the challenges facing primary care.  Use our guidance and resources to help you plan for and implement FCP in your service.

Join the iCSP forum to discuss all aspects of First contact physiotherapy.

First contact physios implementation guidance - England and Wales

First contact physiotherapists allow patients to see the right person and receive the right treatment, quicker. Musculoskeletal (MSK) health issues account for around 1 in 5 of all GP appointments. Most of these could instead be seeing a physiotherapist from the start.

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

Read the implementation guidance for England and Wales
MSK first contact practitioners guide

First contact physios implementation guidance - Scotland

The number of APPs working in primary care in Scotland, as the first point of contact, has grown significantly.  

This guide summarizes the key benefits and challenges of implementing these new, broad based, highly skilled physiotherapy roles in primary care.

Read the implementation guidance for Scotland
Scottish FCP implementation guidance

The NHS Long Term Plan for England

The NHS Long Term Plan for England has committed £4.5 billion more for primary and community services by 2023/4.

The new GP five year contract published at the same time, includes the role of the First Contact Physiotherapist (FCP) as part of the increase in the 22,000 primary care staff that will be working as part of the primary care team to help ease the pressure on general practice. The role of FCP will be funded from 2020.

The Long Term Plan also commits to expansion of rehabilitation services across a number of clinical priorities.

Keep up to date with news about the Long Term Plan
NHS England Long Term Plan - Chartered Society of Physiotherapy

First contact physios in general practice: member FAQs

Physiotherapists have a strong role to play in primary care, not least broadening the GP team and providing more services outside of hospital. 

We've compiled a list of questions most frequently asked by members about this increasingly widespread physio role.

Read the top FAQs
a first contact physios in general practice

FCP - standardised data collection

It is vital that FCPs can demonstrate their effectiveness, efficiency and impact. Standardised data collection will be key to this.

Learn more about the data templates
Tablet computer

First contact physiotherapists - calculate potential savings

First contact physiotherapists in primary care have demonstrated that they are both clinically effective and cost effective.

Health Education England and the SCW Commissioning Support Unit have developed the MSK First Point-of-Contact Model as a tool to calculate cost and resource savings of the FCP roles.

Download the MSK First Point of Contact model
physio demonstrating with a knee joint

First Contact Physio patient and reception materials

With the increase in first contact physiotherapy (FCP) services across the UK, there is a growing need to promote services at a local level.

We are therefore developing a suite of resources, in consultation with members, to support physios in raising the profile of these services.

Download your first contact physio resources
Go direct to a physio

FCPs in primary care: videos

The first contract practitioner model is designed to deliver a streamlined, patient-centred service and support the growing demands on general practice and secondary care.

This series of video, produced by Health Education England, demonstrates the efficacy of this model of care both in quality of outcomes as well as efficiency.

Watch now
FCP video

First contact physiotherapists (FCPs) - job descriptions

Job descriptions and person specifications shape the scope of a job. So it is essential that they fully reflect the context and demands of the job. We offer some guidance on elements to consider and an example job description.

Find out more
a physio consulting with a patient

Physiotherapy in primary care - briefing with evidence and examples

Increasing the availability of physiotherapy in primary care is a win win all round - for patients, GPs and NHS budgets.

Physiotherapists are proving invaluable to expanded GP teams. Community based rehabilitation services support people with long term conditions to maintain their health and stay out of hospital. 

Read our Think physio for primary care briefing
Think Physio for primary care

Why GPs bring physios into their surgeries

Physiotherapists provide a first point of contact for patients seeking an appointment for back pain and other musculoskeletal conditions.  

This is quicker for patients and frees up GP time.

Watch and share our animation
Think physio animation

FCP case studies

Have a look at our Innovations in Physiotherapy database for lots of examples of first contact physio in practice.

Find out more
innovations database logo