First Contact Physiotherapy

What is First Contact Physiotherapy?

First Contact Physiotherapists (FCP) are experienced musculoskeletal physiotherapists, who have a number of years experience working in MSK. This means that a patient can see an experienced physiotherapist for an assessment directly at their GP practice, without needing to see a GP or be referred externally.

How to access an FCP appointment?

You do not need to see a GP to get an appointment with an FCP, simply call Putneymead, explain that you are having a MSK problem (joint, bone, muscle, tendon), and they can book you directly with one of the FCP team. You can also ask your GP, or any other practitioner at Putneymead, to do this if you have an appointment with them about something else. There is no referral form required.

What do expect during your FCP appointment?

Your FCP will take a detailed history of your condition, they may also question some of your past medical history to gain a better understanding of your symptoms and to rule out other pathology. They will then assess the joint at fault to aim to gain a detailed diagnosis, which will be explained to you.

The FCP and yourself will then come up with a plan moving forwards, generally this is some rehabilitation exercises and advice on management of your condition. The FCP service is not a physiotherapy treatment service, but your FCP will always make you aware to return if your condition is not getting better.

We may use the GetUBetter self management app, for exercise progression. If you wanted to trail this before seeing an FCP you can gain access here;



If your FCP feels you need ongoing physiotherapy treatment, they will refer to the local St. George’s or AQP service.

If your FCP feels that you need further investigations or referral they are able to refer you for scanning, or to hospital based services, or to the local joint injection service.

The FCP’s work closely with the GP’s, and often liase about conditions and work together if this is required for the management of your condition (e.g prescriptions.)


For more information about what do expect during your FCP appointment- please watch the below video.

When to see your FCP - social media version on Vimeo