First Contact Practitioner #1

I have just been appointed as a First Contact Practitioner in West Essex. I hope to share on the blog some insights into the role as I get established for anyone that is interested in pursuing the role.

What is a First Contact Practitioner?

This is a fairly new and developing role based in GP surgeries. Patients can make an appointment directly with a First Contact Practitioner. They will then be assessed for their musculoskeletal problem and given appropriate exercises, advice or referral. This is my understanding at the moment but I’ll share more as I work.

The aim is that the MSK burden on GPs will be reduced and that patients will receive good advice at the earliest opportunity to reduce the likelihood of problems becoming chronic.

Osteopaths as First Contact Practitioners

The iO has been doing a lot of work with Health Education England and other services as this role has been developed. Matthew Rogers has written articles in the iO magazine and is a great source of advice if you are interested in the role.

Some of the FCP positions require that you are trained as an independent prescriber and in injection therapy. Many of the roles are just advertised for physios.

Tim Allardyce is doing a project with Health Education England to demonstrate the value of osteopathy in this role – you will hear more from the iO very soon.

West Essex do advertise for osteopaths to be part of their team for FCP roles and in their broader MSK team.

Being Appointed

My interview was 7 clinical scenarios where I had to demonstrate diagnostic reasoning, clinical care planning and inter-professional working. I must admit I had prepared by learning NHS values, the trust values and being prepared for equality and diversity questions – to no avail!

Once the paperwork is completed, the DBS is taking a long time, I hope to be starting 3 days a week as an FCP from next week. I’ll post updates from time to time to help share what this role is like from an osteopathic perspective.

If you have an FCP role or are seeking a role, do get in touch it would be great to share thoughts and support one another.

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