First Contact Physiotherapist

To practise as a Physiotherapist, you must be registered with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC). To register with the HCPC, you first need to successfully complete a degree in physiotherapy approved by the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy and you may be able to do a 2-year postgraduate course if you’ve got a degree in a relevant subject, such as biological science, psychology or sports science.

First Contact Physiotherapists (FCPs) are qualified autonomous clinical practitioners who can assess, diagnose, treat and manage musculoskeletal (MSK) problems and undifferentiated conditions and where appropriate discharge a person without a medical referral. FCPs working in this role can be accessed directly by self-referral or by staff in GP practices who can direct patients to them to establish a rapid and accurate diagnosis and management plan to streamline pathways of care.

Download First Contact Physiotherapist job role, job descriptions and case studies


Physiotherapist - photo by Toa Heftiba

A physiotherapy degree (BSc) is required to work as a physiotherapist in any setting.

For band 7 roles HEE Primary care FCP capability training must be completed as the minimum threshold for entry to primary care and be supported by appropriate governance and indemnity.

For band 8a roles the HEE FC primary care training must be completed, and they must be working at an advanced level of practice i.e. at master’s level (level 7) across all four pillars of advanced practice.


Physiotherapist - photo by Jesper Aggergaard

The payband for a First Contact Physiotherapist is usually AfC Band 7/8a.

100% of actual salary plus defined on costs, up to the maximum reimbursable amount of £55670 over 12 months.

FCP model of care

The Health Education England video below demonstrates the efficacy of First Contact Physiotherapy in Musculoskeletal services both in quality of outcomes as well as efficiency – people see the right person, in the right place, first time.

skills and knowledge

You will need the following skills and knowledge:

  • knowledge of medicine and dentistry
  • sensitivity and understanding
  • to enjoy working with other people
  • customer service skills
  • patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations
  • analytical thinking skills
  • knowledge of psychology
  • to be flexible and open to change
  • competent computing skills