First Contact Practitioner

First Contact Practitioner

First Contact Practitioners (FCPs) are physiotherapists usually based in GP surgeries with an expertise in the assessment and management of musculoskeletal conditions. It involves placing physiotherapists directly into GP practices to treat patients who come into the clinic with musculoskeletal problems. They can help patients with musculoskeletal issues such as back, neck and joint pain by:

  • Assessing and diagnosing issues
  • Giving expert advice on how best to manage their conditions
  • Referring them onto specialist services if necessary.

First Contact Practitioners help people affected by injury, illness or disability through movement and exercise, manual therapy, education and advice. They are also able to provide referrals for patients requiring long-term ongoing physio care.

Patients with MSK conditions bypass the appointment with a GP, and go straight to get help with a specialist physiotherapist. Instead of the traditional method where they are seen by the GP then referred for a physio appointment which can take up to 6 weeks or more.

This makes wait and recovery times shorter, frees up GP appointments, and reduces the need for medication.

They maintain health for people of all ages, helping patients to manage pain and prevent disease.

You may be eligible for an appointment with a physiotherapist for the following problems:

  • All soft tissue injuries, sprains, strains or sports injuries – upper and lower limb
  • Arthritis – any joint
  • Possible problems with muscles, ligaments, tendons or bone, eg tennis elbow, carpal tunnel syndrome, ankle sprains
  • Spinal pain including lower back pain, mid-back pain and neck pain
  • Spinal-related pain in arms or legs, including nerve symptoms, eg pins and needles or numbness
  • Mobility changes
  • Post-orthopaedic surgery

Patients can book an appointment directly with the clinician via the surgery receptionists, which means they won’t need to wait for a referral from a doctor.

For more information on First Contact Practitioners please take a look at the following sites.

First Contact Practitioner (FCP) – Placing physiotherapists directly into GP practices

NHS England » First contact physiotherapists

Our First Contact Practitioners

Sam Lewis

Sam trained at Coventry University and left with a Honours Degree in Physiotherapy in 2004. He also completed Post Graduate courses in Acupuncture in 2007, Manual Therapy in 2008, Pain Management in 2016 and Blood Test and Imaging for Musculoskeletal Conditions in 2021.

He has worked in a wide variety of clinic settings including- Junior Physiotherapist in Southend-on-Sea from 2004 till 2007. He then progressed to a senior roll in Newcastle-Upon-Tyne from 2007 till 2016 in musculoskeletal outpatients and worked in the Rheumatology, Pain team and Hand Therapy team along with the prison service and sport rehabilitation. From there he worked as a First Contact Practitioner in the Cannock area untill joining the PCN in April 2021. He has been involved in the First Contact Practitioner roles since the initial trials 5 years ago.

Sam is looking forward to developing within this current role and is looking to progress into injection therapy for the management of musculoskeletal conditions.

Daragh Lahiff

Daragh trained at Keele University and qualified with a 1st Class honours in BSc Physiotherapy in 2011. Since then, he has worked in entirely MSK roles.

He first worked as a Band 5 MSK Outpatients Physio and then an In-patient Trauma and Orthopaedics Physiotherapist in North Wales from December 2011 to February 2013. He then became a Band 5 MSK Outpatient Physiotherapist in Loughborough from Feb 2013 to October 2014, Band 6 MSK Outpatient Physio at Market Harborough from October 2014 to August 2015 and Band 6 MSK Outpatient Physio in Tamworth from August 2015 to December 2015. From there he became a Senior Physiotherapist and telephone triage Physio with Nuffield Health in Derby and Leicester from Jan 2016 to Jan 2021 (including the role of Triage team lead from November 2019 to Jan 2021)

Daragh then started as a First Contact Practitioner for Primary Care Physio in the Scarborough and Filey Healthier Communities Network in Jan 2021 to May 2022 whereupon he joined us working for the North Arden PCN. 

In his role of First Contact Practitioner previous to this Daragh was working entirely remotely with no face to face assessments only via video/telephone. He has found it to be nice seeing and working with patients face-to-face again.

Daragh has a keen interest in all MSK conditions and pain pathology. He hopes to contribute highly to the care of patients with MSK pain in the North Arden PCN. He is also hoping to soon train for injection therapy and to become a Non-medical Prescriber in the future.