The first contact practitioner (FCP) service allows patients contacting the surgery with musculoskeletal pain to be seen quickly by a specialist musculoskeletal physiotherapist.

They will be able to quickly assess, diagnose and provide information on appropriate individualised rehabilitation and management.

Gary joined us back in February 2023 and provides clinics three days a week here at the practice. Gary is an expert in musculoskeletal (MSK) problems and will undertake your first patient consultation, to enhance your MSK-patient care.

If you have any questions about the service Gary provides, please do ask our Care Navigation team who will be able to assist you.

Our Patient Praticipation Group interviewed Gary on the services he can privide to patients. See the full interview below.

What’s the difference between your work in a GP practice and the role of a hospital physio?

The main difference is specialism. My background is working in the musculoskeletal field whereas a ward-based physio in a hospital could specialise in neurological physiotherapy or respiratory physiotherapy.

What training did you do before becoming an FCP?

I have a BSc degree in Physiotherapy along with degrees in sports performance. My continuing professional development has included study in osteopathic and chiropractic treatment techniques and acupuncture.

Can you describe what happens in a first appointment with you?

I’ll run through a comprehensive assessment, getting an understanding of what may be happening and how it is affecting you. I’ll then do some objective assessments to confirm my initial impressions and come up with some treatment options. If I feel you may need more formal physiotherapy/musculoskeletal investigation I can also organise that.

Do patients have to be referred by their GP or can they just ask to be referred to you via the care navigator?

The care navigators have a triage assessment form they use to see if you need a GP appointment or can be seen by an FCP. If an FCP is more appropriate, you will be directly booked with me without having to see the GP first.

What happens if you diagnose something that needs an X-ray or an appointment with an orthopaedic specialist? Can you refer directly, or does it have to go via the GP?

I would request an X-ray through the GP. For further investigations, such as an MRI or orthopaedic opinion, I can refer directly through to the team who organises this.

Can you prescribe pain killers? Exercises?

I am not a prescriber of medication. I can prescribe exercises.

Is this an NHS role? How do I know if I should see you or the osteopath who is based in the practice?

The FCP role is an NHS role. As a musculoskeletal physiotherapist I treat a variety of conditions related to muscle, joint and nerve.

Finally, what do you do to relax?

Before I was a physio my background was competing in athletics so I have always had a keen interest in keeping fit, going to the gym and running.

Gary provides clinics here at the practice on a Tuesday, Thursday and Friday every week. Please contact the practice to book in to see him - there is no need to be referred by your GP.

Published: May 24, 2024