Essential information about First Contact Physiotherapy

Whether you are a student on your first musculoskeletal (MSK) placement, an early-career physiotherapist interested in MSK or First Contact Physiotherapy (FCP), just starting out as an advanced practitioner, or even if you're already working as an FCP, there are plenty of ways to learn more about this emerging field of physiotherapy.

This guide will give you relevant information to plan your career development into primary care FCP and advanced practice. 

Increase your understanding

There is plenty of information about working in primary care, FCP services and becoming an FCP on the CSP and Health Education England (HEE) websites. Look at the FCP pages on the CSP website, and consider joining the FCP network on iCSP. Relevant information is posted here regularly, and it is a forum for FCPs to share their questions and experiences. 

You should look at the HEE FCP landing page for updates about FCP in England and become familiar with the FCP training and education documents and/or the advanced practice frameworks in your country:

See our country-specific FCP career guidance for more information.

Evidence your experience

Start to gather evidence for your portfolio while gaining experience in different roles and settings as it is important to showcase a variety of learning and experiences. It's never too early to start working on your portfolio, and it's never too late to improve your evidence-gathering habits. 

This Frontline CPD article offers suggestions to develop your evidence. You could try an online tool such as the CSP ePortfolio to collect the evidence. Make use of the reflective elements to ensure you can demonstrate learning rather than just activities.

Use the portfolio tools that are linked to from the HEE's FCP landing page. Select "Supervision Resources" Scroll to the bottom of the page and click on the link to a Sharepoint page with many digital tools can be accessed. This is relevant whatever region or country you are in because the tools are very thorough and helpful for guiding the education of all clinicians who are considering moving into primary care.

Enhance your education

Whatever stage you're at and whichever region or country you're in, you could start by completing the primary care and personalised care e-learning modules. Repeat and reflect on these modules as your knowledge develops.

If you have appropriate experience, consider joining one of the membership organisations or professional networks:

Completing a portfolio for FCP and/or Advanced Practice should demonstrate level 7 capabilities. Watch the APPN webinars about what level 7 means and where to start with your portfolio to increase your understanding of this.

Postgraduate qualifications

Talk to your line manager, supervisor or mentor about educational opportunities such as MSc modules to develop the MSK and personalised care expertise you will need. Find post-qualifying programmes that have CSP accreditation, and check the HEE website for updates on modules that have been mapped to the FCP roadmap.

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