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First Contact Practitioner Service

What is the First Contact Practitioner Service?


The MSK Practitioner Service is a way for MSK Specialists to work side by side with GPs in local GP practices.

Circle MSK provide experienced physiotherapists free of charge to local GP surgeries. These physiotherapists assess patients with problems with their muscles, bones or joints (musculoskeletal care).

We offer this service so that patients can see an MSK specialist as soon as possible. We also think it’s vital to support GPs and work shoulder-to-shoulder in the community.

The physiotherapists working in GP surgeries offer:

1. an assessment of patients with symptoms of a musculoskeletal problem as an alternative to them seeing their GP
2. early advice exercises for patients who haven’t had their symptoms very long
3. an opinion on the best MSK pathway for more complex patients, who are then directed into Circle’s fully integrated MSK service

Why is the First Contact Practitioner Service in place?

Problems with muscles, bones and joints can often be treated with advice and simple exercises. Not every condition needs intense treatment and we want to make sure that patients only go to hospital or a community clinic when they really need to.

The service means patients can see someone quickly and conveniently in their own GP practice, with specialist skills to help them manage their problems. Our clinicians are experienced physiotherapists, skilled in helping patients diagnose problems and offer clear, expert advice on MSK conditions.

If a patient needs further treatment or advice, the First Contact Practitioner Service will send them straight on to their local Circle MSK service with a recommendation. We triage all patients within 24 hours and are dedicated to making sure patients are seen quickly. In the mean time, the physiotherapist might offer patients some advice on how to manage their condition or pain while they wait.

How can I access the First Contact Practitioner Service?

The service is only available in certain GP Practices. Sometimes you might see a physiotherapist after seeing your GP, or instead of seeing your GP. We currently offer this service in the following locations:

Borough of Greenwich:

  • St Marks Medical Centre
  • Trinity Medical Centre
  • Eltham Palace Surgery
  • Ferryview Health Centre
  • The Blackheath Standard Surgery

Bedfordshire:

  • Ashburnham Road Surgery
  • Cauldwell Medical Centre
  • Goldington Avenue
  • Harrold Medical Practice
  • King Street Surgery
  • London Road Health Centre
  • Queens Park Health Centre
  • Sharnbrook Surgery
  • The De Parys Group (De Parys, Goldington Medical and Pemberley)
  • Wootton Vale Healthy Living Centre
  • Kingsbury Court Surgery
  • Greensands Medical Practice (Potton)
  • Ivel Medical Centre
  • Saffron Health Partnership
  • Sandy Health Centre
  • Shannon Court Surgery
  • Shefford Health Centre
  • Bassett Road Surgery
  • Leighton Road
  • Asplands Medical Centre
  • Cranfield and Marston Surgery
  • Dr Hughes and Partners
  • Greensand Surgery (Ampthill)
  • Houghton Close Surgery
  • Oliver Street Surgery
  • Flitwick Surgery
Where can I find out more?

If you’d like to know more about self-management, check out our homepage to find helpful guides on how to manage your pain and stay active.

If you work in a GP practice and are interested in opening the First Contact Practitioner Service, please see our contact page for details of how to get in touch.