The U.K. has an increasingly ageing population, with more people living with more long-terms conditions. These population trends, combined with GP shortages, are placing General Practice under ever-greater pressure. Therefore, GPs are increasingly considering how they can use and target resources more effectively. This includes enabling more patients’ care to be managed by a wider range of practitioners within the practice-based team.
Many GPs are already seeing the benefits of drawing in the expertise of experienced physiotherapists to work alongside them as the first point of contact for their MSK patients. Musculoskeletal (MSK) conditions are about 20-30% of GP workload
First contact physiotherapists (FCPs) have been shown to safely and effectively manage a musculoskeletal caseload by advising on self-management, initiating further investigations and referrals, when needed, enhancing the patient experience and freeing up GP time to lead, manage and spend with other patients.
As part of the primary care team physiotherapists can promote and implement the practice’s approach to health promotion, early intervention, avoiding unnecessary medication, referrals and hospital admissions, and supporting patient self-management.
The feedback from GPs and patients affirms that FCPs are working in practice.