First Contact Physiotherapist (FCP)

You may have heard this term already and your GP or nurse may have already referred you to the “FCP”, but do you know what an FCP is and what they do and what will happen in your appointment?

How to Book

You will be referred by your GP, a nurse or other health care professional or alternatively you can contact your practice by phone or use the AccurX App to book directly if you have it.

What is an FCP?

An FCP is a specialist clinician who is able to assess and diagnose musculoskeletal conditions and advise on the rehabilitation, pain and management. An FCP can be a senior physiotherapist, nurse, paramedic, podiatrist or dietician. All are trained experts in helping you manage your condition and each will also have their own area of expertise.

What does an FCP do?

An FCP is trained to accurately diagnose and manage pain, injuries and physical conditions. If an FCP thinks you are ill or need further interventions such as a scan, medication, other treatment they will refer you to the appropriate place. Similarly, if you think you are ill you should contact your GP, as an FCP cannot help with medication queries or medical issues.

What will happen at my first FCP appointment?

The FCP will ask you questions to get a clear understanding of what problems you are having and to rule out anything serious or problematic. They will then perform some tests to determine the specifics of your complaint. This might involve pressing your spine or moving a joint or even stretching a muscle to pinpoint the factors contributing to your problem.

Sometimes the FCP might decide to administer a treatment such as a joint mobilisation, application of taping or strapping or even a steroid injection – but this will be discussed with you at the time.

They will then advise you on the best course of action. This can include the following:

  • Self-management strategies: exercise, medication, ice for example or even signposting you to available services in the community.
  • A specific treatment such as a steroid injection.
  • A course of Physiotherapy from the community team.
  • A referral to a specialist team based at one of the hospitals.
  • If you meet certain criteria, they may refer you for a scan or x-ray if necessary.

What then?

The FCP may arrange to see you again to check your progress and perhaps offer you more help, especially if they have advised you on how best you can self-manage. If they have referred you to another service then that service will contact you directly. If, after seeing them you would like to return to the FCP you will need to get back in touch with the practice.

Self help

There are many resources online to assist you with pain and returning to health as quickly as possible. Here are a few suggestions below:



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