GP placement student toolkit

Publication date:
07 October 2021
Date range:

First contact practitioner (FCP)

FCP's are often clinicians that were expert muscoskeletal physiotherapists. This is a new role developed to reduce the demands of the GP.

These practitioners are able to consult with patients to identify whether they will need further physiotherapy or a referral to the GP or other healthcare teams.


  1. Assess
  2. Educate
  3. Advise
  4. Triage

The importance of the FCP role

Musculoskeletal (MSK) pain conditions greatly contribute to the years someone lives with disability and number of working days lost, with the second one it is managed by both primary and secondary care.

The demand for musculoskeletal care services is expected to grow due to obesity becoming more prevalent and an ageing population (Babatunde, 2020).

This means there is an ever increasing pressure on the GP services. The FCP role was introduced to help alleviate the demand of primary care services. MSK conditions account for 1 in 5 of every GP appointment (CSP2021), with most of these patients being referred onto Physiotherapy.

FCPs allow patients to have initial consultations with a Physiotherapist rather than a GP, meaning patients receive appropriate advice and care quicker,making a more efficient and cost effective approach.

10 million lost working days. Making musculoskeletal conditions the second most common reason for sickness certification. FCP's may help to reduce this as patients are managed more efficiently.

25 per cent cheaper for the NHS when a patient self-refers to physiotherapy compared to the GP.