First contact MSK service

Primary care is currently facing significant workload pressures with expectation from NHSE that practices should continue to offer access to primary care services.

Practices are wrestling with a number of workload/workforce issues.

  • Managing patients suffering with COVID19 who are presenting to primary care

  • Implementing the COVID 19 vaccination programme

  • Meeting the needs of patients with non COVID 19 related problems during what is normally the busiest time of the year for GP appointments.

  • Meeting some of the backlog in long term condition care from the current and previous lockdowns

  • Developing preventative/screening programmes to identify patients with cancer and other illnesses who may not have presented during the COVID 19 crisis.

  • Staff absence from those suffering from COVID-19 or self-isolating.
women receiving physiotherapy

Patients presenting with MSK related problems represent between 20-30% of all GP appointments. Many PCNs and practices are looking to employ physiotherapists and podiatrists to work in First Contact Practitioner roles as part of the ARRS funding scheme.

One of the largest independent studies looking at the impact of FCPs with primary care assessed the impact across 8000 patients and found that % of onward referrals to GPs was only 1%.*

*Physiotherapist as an alternative to a GP for musculoskeletal conditions: a 2-year service evaluation of UK primary care data: Fiona Downie, Catherine McRitchie, Wendy Monteith and Helen Turner. British Journal of General Practice 2019; 69 (682): e314-e320.


Primary Care Physio

We are the leading provider of primary care FCP services in the UK and currently support over 90 PCNs.

The key focus for our service is working with PCNs and GP practices is to support practices manage MSK workload and minimise GP workload.




FCP intervention

% of total interventions

How do Primary care physio FCPs minimise GP workload

Self-care advice

60.4%

All of our FCPs use best in class software which enables our team to prescribe bespoke online self-care advice/exercise to each patient and track their progress.

Physiotherapy referral

12.8%

We work with your local physiotherapy provider to develop a referral pathway. Data shows that the total number & inappropriateness of referrals are reduced adopting our service.

Joint injection referral

9.9%

Most of our FCPs are able to deliver joint injection therapy

GP referral

1.0%

Most GP referrals tend to be patients who present to the FCP with a medical (non MSK) complaint.

Imaging referral

9.2%

All our FCPs have completed an e-IRMER training course and can request radiology investigations as required.

Podiatry referral

0.6%

We work with your local community podiatry provider to develop a referral pathway.

MSK referral

2.9%

We work with your local MSK provider to develop a referral pathway. Data shows that the total number & inappropriateness of referrals are reduced adopting our service.

Blood test referral

1.8%

FCPs are able to order and interpret blood test results.

Other intervention

2.2%

We encourage our FCPs to work as an integrated MDT member with other MDT members of PCN ; for example referring to social prescribing teams.

Our full-time FCPs service deliver approximately 90 patient appointments per week which can have a significant impact on GP workload ensuring only the right patients (1%) are referred back to our GP colleagues.