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Primary Care Network Staff

First Contact Physiotherapy

Musculoskeletal (MSK) Practitioners


What are MSK Practitioners?

Musculoskeletal involves anything to do with joints, ligaments, tendons and muscles.

Confusingly we go by a few names, MSK Practitioner and First Contact Practitioner (MSK) are the most common. Usually, we are experienced physiotherapists, as this training is very transferable to the role. For this reason, many staff and patients will still refer to us as ‘the physios’ but we serve a different function in primary care.

Why does your role exist?

Up to 30% of appointments in primary care for an MSK problem. There are decreasing amounts of GP’s. As part of the NHS long term plan, we created posts for experienced Physiotherapists to start seeing these patients first instead of GP’s (Hence the term First Contact Practitioners).

How are you different from a regular Physiotherapist?

MSK practitioners have gone through further training to work in primary care. They can use advanced practice skills such as prescribing, performing steroid injections and referring for investigations.

What are the advantages of seeing you?

 You get to see us quicker than you would normally see a GP

·         We are MSK specialists

·         We can refer you (if needed) to the right place at the right time

What if I don’t want physiotherapy?

That is not a problem, you will find it’s different compared to a typical physiotherapy appointment. Our main role is to assess and diagnose your problem.

From there we have lots of options, some patients will require reassurance, advice & guidance. Others may need some direction on exercises. We can refer for investigations, prescribe medication, refer to secondary care (physiotherapy/orthopaedics/rheumatology). We will also refer you to the GP if we feel your problem is not MSK in nature.

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