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NHS First Contact Physio

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First Contact Physiotherapy

First Contact Practitioner

The first contact practitioner (FCP) is an exciting role delivered in primary care (GP surgeries) with funding available to GPs to support this since April 2020. Pure Physiotherapy has been delivering FCP services to individual GP surgeries, PCNs, GP Federations and CCGs since 2016.


The FCP service allows patients contacting their GP surgeries with musculoskeletal pain to be seen quickly by a specialist musculoskeletal physiotherapist. They will be able to assess, diagnose and provide information on appropriate individualised rehabilitation and management. We work very closely with GP’s and nurse practitioners to ensure the patient gets the best level of care and assist with any medication, investigations and referrals where deemed required.


Pure Physiotherapy has been working in this role for nearly four years now and is helping to develop this role on a local, regional and national level. A large number of our team at Pure Physiotherapy are working in a first contact practitioner role providing a high level of care with great feedback from patients and commissioning bodies. We have robust data regarding the effectiveness of our service and can flex our delivery to local needs.

We have been shown to free up GP appointment slots, reduce orthopaedic referrals, lower the number of unnecessary investigations and prescriptions. A high patient satisfaction rate has been reported across the surgeries we are working with.


  • FCP services are reported to deliver a return on investment of £0.81-£2.37 for every £1 spent on implementing FCP services (Davies C, 2017); with some studies suggesting a higher return (Public Health England, 2017).


  • Early access to physiotherapy & advice and treatment, where necessary, reduces sickness absence, accelerates recovery and improves the long-term health and well-being prospects of patients with MSK problems (Addley et al., 2010; Boorman, 2009; NHS Employers, 2012).


  • 91% of people with arthritis say they are not given information about exercise/self-care and only 43% say they can manage their arthritis well (Arthritis Care, 2017).


  • In a recent analysis at one of the surgeries we are working with, out of over 850 patients seen, only 13 required to come back to see another member of the team for the same problem and only 13 were referred to secondary care.


We are continuing to increase the number of GP surgeries and primary care networks that we are working alongside. As of April 2020, Pure Physiotherapy is supporting over 63 GP clinics with FCP services. Linked to the patient facing and remote work we deliver, we put a lot of time and effort into education for the GP and practice staff. Ensuring a flexible and responsive FCP service is paramount in the current climate.



Please find the link below for some literature on the first contact practitioner role for primary care networks. If you would like to discuss Pure Physiotherapy working as part of your network, please email:

Richard Morford, FCP Clinical Lead


NHS First Contact Physio
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"Absolutely brilliant"
Google Review December 2019
"I've never know pain like Sciatica. Following a referral made by my doctor, I was seen by a really friendly physiotherapist. I can't believe the difference in 4 sessions - Many thanks."
Miss C White
"This is a great company to work with. They helped me get back on my feet in no time."
Toby Callinan
"I was told by a previous physio that nothing could be done for my ankle problem and I would never play football again. Having received expert treatment and by following a specific programme, I have returned to 5-a-side once a week."
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