MSK First Contact Practitioner




To streamline pathways of care in General Practice through rapid and accurate diagnosis and creation of management plans for patients. To establish the role of MSK FCP in the network of practices, working directly alongside General Practice colleagues to add an MSK element to a growing Multi-Disciplinary Team. 

  • Responsible to: IPC Service Manager and GP Supervisor
  • Location: Various across Coastal West Sussex
  • Salary: £40,680-48,820 FTE
  • Equivalent to Agenda for Change Band 7/8a dependent on experience and qualifications 
  • Service area: PCN Staffing

image of a first contact practitioner


Job Overview:

A relatively new role in General Practice, providing an expert and highly developed musculoskeletal assessment, diagnosis and appropriate onward management of patients presenting with chronic and acute musculoskeletal problems to the service. The post-holder will act as first-contact physiotherapist and make decisions about the best course of action for patients' care (including in relation to undifferentiated conditions). This will involve seeing patients, without prior contact with their GP, in order to establish a rapid and accurate diagnosis and management plan

Each MSK First Contact Practitioner will work for one Primary Care Network (group of GP practices) in Coastal West Sussex.


Main Duties:


  • Assess, diagnose, triage and manage patients, taking responsibility for the management of a complex caseload
  • Progress and request investigations and referrals to facilitate diagnosis and choice of treatment regime, understanding the limitations of investigations, interpret and act on results and feedback to aid diagnosis and the management plans of patients.
  • Develop integrated and tailored care programmes in partnership with patients through
  1. Effective shared decision making with a range of first line management options.
  2. Assessment of levels of Patient Activation to confirm levels of knowledge, skills and confidence to self-manage.
  3. Providing a range of first line treatment options. These will include self-management, referral to rehabilitation services and social prescribing provision.
  4. Evaluation and improvement of the effectiveness of these self-management support interventions.
  • Facilitate behavioural change, optimise patients’ physical activity and mobility, support fulfilment of personal goals and reduce the need for pharmacological interventions.
  • Manage complex interactions, including working with patients with psychosocial and mental health needs, referring to social prescribing when appropriate.
  • Communicate effectively and appropriately, with patients and carers, complex and sensitive information regarding diagnosis, pathology, prognosis and treatment choices supporting personalised care.

Team working

  • Develop relationships and a collaborative working approach across the PCN, supporting the integration of pathways in Primary Care.
  • Work responsively and collaboratively to establish the role of an MSK First Contact Practitioner effectively with General Practice teams, this may include specific role elements such as:
  1. Triage into colleague’s appointments
  2. Undertaking joint injections
  3. Supervision of some colleagues
  • Liaise with secondary care and community care MSK services to support the management of patients in Primary Care Develop and make use of a full scope of practice, including skills relating to independent prescribing, injection therapy and investigation.

Learning and service development

  • Provide learning opportunities for Primary Care colleagues in different disciplines. 
  • Be accountable for decision and actions via HCPC registration, supported by engagement in evidence-base practice and in local peer network and review.
  • Implement all aspects of effective clinical governance for own practice, including:
  1. Design and completion of regular audit and associated improvement work.
  2. A commitment to regular supervision and case discussion.
  3. A responsive approach to training opportunities identified in self and in colleagues.
  • Support local quality improvement work to tangibly improve service performance outcomes.
  • Support regional and national research and audit programmes to evaluate and improve the effectiveness of the FCP programme. This will include communicating outcomes and integrating findings into own and wider service practice and pathway development.
  • Participate in the training of students including working with GP trainees in training practices.

Person Specifications:

Essential Requirements  Desirable Requirements
Undergraduate degree in physiotherapy Qualification and ability to prescribe
Current HCPC registration Experience in line management of colleagues
Membership of the CSP or appropriate professional body Experience in structured teaching
Masters level qualification or equivalent specialist musculoskeletal knowledge, skills and experience  
Level 7 modules in MSK related areas of practice
(advanced assessment, diagnosis, treatment)
Hold credentials in imaging (diagnostic or procedural)  
Strong interpersonal and communication skills  

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