What are FCPs?

The benefits of FCPs

The scale of MSK problems

Facts and figures from real FCP pilot studies

How FCPs facilitate the NHS Long Term Plan

Why FCPs cut costs

More than 1 in 5 GP appointments are for MSK conditions. 

A shortage of GPs

+ A shortage of GPs

An increasing elderly population

+ An increasing elderly population

Already under pressure NHS services

+ Already under pressure NHS services

= addressing the treatment of MSK problems is an important issue.

In the UK, an average of 30% of GP appointments are for musculoskeletal (MSK) problems. Having physiotherapists work within GP practices and take over these appointments, means that patients get seen quicker and recover faster.


Plus – the workload is reduced for GPs helping to ease pressure off general practice. 


First Contact Practitioner (FCP) is a new model evolving UK. It involves placing physiotherapists directly into GP practices and to treat patients who come into the clinic with musculoskeletal problems.


Patients with MSK conditions bypass the appointment with a GP, and go straight to get help with a specialist physiotherapist. Instead of the traditional method where they are seen by the GP then referred for a physio appointment which can take up to 6 weeks or more.


This makes wait and recovery times shorter, frees up GP appointments, and reduces the need for medication.

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The benefits of FCPs;

  • Faster access to MSK care
  • Longer more in-depth appointments
  • Reduced waiting times
  • Reduced referrals to other NHS departments
  • Higher quality of care


Pilot Studies

There have been several case studies carried out across the UK which have proved there are many benefits to having physiotherapists in primary care. Including;

  • High patient satisfaction ratings
  • Less strain on GP practices
  • Reduction in prescribing
  • Upskilling GPs in MSK conditions
  • Cost savings

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