First Contact Practitioner

Connect Health’s First Contact Practitioner (FCP) offering can provide you with a quality, cost effective method of delivering patient care.

First Contact Practitioner

Connect Health’s First Contact Practitioner (FCP) offering can provide you with a quality, cost effective method of delivering patient care.

First Contact Practitioner (FCP)

Primary care is facing increasing pressures with an ageing population and issues with training and retention of GPs. As part of the NHS long term plan there is a commitment to narrowing inequalities and addressing unwarranted variations in care, and ensuring patients have direct access to First Contact Practitioners (FCP).

FCPs are primarily physiotherapists working at an advanced clinical level who can provide a streamlined and cost-effective service in primary care by promoting self-management, improving patient care and reducing GP workload. The Chartered Society of Physiotherapy (CSP) estimates that FCPs may see up to 50% of the GP musculoskeletal (MSK) caseload (NHS England and NHS Improvement 2019). Self-referral to physiotherapy has been shown to be 25% cheaper to the NHS than a GP referral and has been fully evaluated and recommended by NICE (Physiotherapy in primary care summary briefing, 2017).

Connect Health’s FCP o­ffering can provide you with a quality, cost e­ffective method of delivering patient care.

We have 20 years of experience delivering direct access physiotherapy. During that time, we have embraced digital and virtual options to support management of demand and to improve choice and access for patients


See our infographic here

MSK Service or FCP – Case examples

What is a First Contact Physiotherapist (FCP)

  • First contact physiotherapists (FCPs) are physiotherapists working at an advanced clinical level within primary care with extensive expertise in the clinical assessment, diagnosis and management of musculoskeletal (MSK) conditions.
  • FCPs see patients with (suspected or diagnosed) MSK conditions as the first point of contact, instead of a GP, and can be accessed directly by contacting the practice’s reception.


How is this different to self-referral?

  • Typically, self-referral services are accessed by patients who know they need to see a physiotherapist.
  • As FCP appointments are booked through the GP reception, FCPs see many patients who had not considered seeing a physiotherapist in the first instance.
  • Also, unlike self-referral, FCP is not (early access to) a course of physiotherapy. Should the patient require further treatment, then the FCP can make a referral.

PCN pilots

Connect Health has piloted FCPs nationally across several PCNs (primary care networks) with great success. As part of FCP implementation, we:

  • Worked with each PCN to determine whether FCP would add value to their pathway and population.
  • Collaborated with stakeholders at place and system level to ensure FCP integrated within existing pathways.
  • Identified opportunities for pathway improvement including access, efficiency and partnership working such as with local authorities, link workers and the third sector.
  • Co-designed and delivered effective care navigation processes and training to ensure the patient was seen in the right place, by the right person, at the right time.


South Tyneside CCG FCP Pilot

  • The evaluation data highlights that an average of 93% of patients were suitably seen and managed within the FCP clinic.

See evaluation summary here


Wakefield CCG FCP Pilot

  • The evaluation date showed that 92% of patients were suitably managed within FCP either referred to physio or self-managed.

What do patients say

Happy to see the FCP and felt they were appropriate, they addressed my issue I feel the care was different to any GP as the FCP had a more detailed knowledge of what was wrong. The appointment was the next day – happy with this.

Please contact for help and support.

What our patients say about us

Karen explains how the Pain Management Programme has equipped her with the necessary learning to manage the pain and continue living her best life.

We speak with Sharon around her experience being part of the Pain Management Programme currently supporting those living with persistent pain across Wolverhampton.

Monica had a hip replacement 3 months ago and within 6 weeks, returned her walking sticks.

“I really enjoy coming to the gym. I can really feel the difference. The physios keep me straight and give me the confidence to go on.” Monica, Merton

We hear from Diana who suffers from chronic pain and has attended the Connect Health Pain Management Programme in Wolverhampton.

Petra Jahn, 63 from Milton Keynes tells us, after 5 operations on her hip and being off-work for 4 years, how her health is gradually improving through group exercise classes.

Sylvie, 46, from Lincolnshire tells how Connect Health’s Pain Management Programme (PMP) has helped her enjoy life again.

PhysioNow detected a possible significant condition at the end of normal working hours, enabling Joe to receive quicker access to clinical advice and urgent investigations.

Jacky received her diagnosis just 12 days after completing her initial assessment thanks to PhysioNow®.

Retired medical secretary, Barbara, explains how a niggling back pain flare up was solved with physiotherapy advice, without having to leave her home.

Terry Fisher, 67 from Darlington, tells us about his journey, from being in a coma and unable to walk to being back on the golf course with help from Connect Health and the Healthy Darlington Programme

Facebook Live physio sessions provide pain relief for Lynn during lockdown

Maria Larmer, 53 from St Albans has suffered from Knee Osteoarthritis for years.

Annette Pickett, 67, from Kirklees, West Yorkshire tells us about how physio from Connect Health gave her life back.

Get in Touch

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