First Contact Practice
Improve the health of patients with musculoskeletal conditions by being their first point of contact in a primary care setting.
"Become a First Contact Practitioner (FCP) and improve the health of GP patients with musculoskeletal conditions"
More and more patients come to GPs with musculoskeletal conditions. By having more FCPs in general practice, we can reduce the workload for GPs and allow patients to see the most appropriately skilled healthcare professional as their first point of contact.
Thanks to the musculoskeletal expertise you will have as an FCP, patients will be able to accelerate their musculoskeletal assessment, treatment plan and (if appropriate) investigations and referral. Thanks to the knowledge of FCPs patients are able to get back to feeling their best sooner.
This course is aimed at providing HCPC registered physiotherapists and GOsC-registered Osteopaths the opportunity to develop as competent, evidence based first contact practitioners.
You will study FCP Level 7 modules that have been mapped against the Knowledge, Skills and Attributes required to meet the First Contact Practitioners Roadmap (HEE, 2021).
Please refer to the entry requirements and course details below for full details on application criteria and modules.
Why Study First Contact Practice at AECC?
- We are one of only three providers of training for the First Contact Practitioner (Musculoskeletal) workforce in England.
- Successful applicants will have their tuition fees paid by Health Education England and will be supported by the Primary Care training hubs with appropriate placement opportunities to transition into a role in Primary Care at the end of the first unit of study, before commencing Unit 2.
- Our fantastic onsite clinical services mean we can even offer some placements to you here at AECC UC.
How to apply?
Applications are now open. To register your interest now or ask any questions about the course, please complete the form at the bottom of the page.
- Course title:
- PGCert First Contact Practice
- 18 months
- Study mode:
- intakes take place 2 times a year; September and January.
There are two units within our First Contact Practice course (subject to validation) these are:
- Clinical Assessment and Reasoning for First Contact Practice (40 credits)
- First Contact Practice Stage 2 (20 credits)
Unit 1 is taught over 10 months, unit 2 over 6 months with a 2 month break in between. For unit 1, you will have 12 on-site delivery days (scheduled every three weeks) with additional material provided online.
Both units have been mapped against the Knowledge, Skills and Attributes required to meet the First Contact Practitioners Roadmap (HEE, 2021). The units have been developed in wide consultation with a number of experts and stakeholders. The delivery of the units will be supported by a wide-ranging clinical faculty of experts.
The unit will help in your preparation for and transition to an FCP role as a diagnostic clinician working in Primary Care, assessing and managing undifferentiated and undiagnosed musculoskeletal presentations. During this unit, you will start to build your clinical portfolio of evidence with support of your supervisor within a supportive learning environment. This unit aims to support MSK physiotherapists to develop skills in integrating relevant patient data through appropriate and systematic history taking, physical examination and investigations to examine and diagnose patients with musculoskeletal conditions. The unit explores personalised approaches to patient care that value co-production and shared decision making with service users. Participants will be encouraged in the development of skills in condition management through intervention, self-management, health promotion and behaviour change. Throughout the unit there will be opportunities to explore personal and professional development needs the transition to the FCP role through critical reflection, enhanced self-awareness and peer discussion.
There are 84 hours of student contact time including face to face delivery and online timetabled sessions. The face: face teaching will be skills focused and primary delivered in one of our skills labs. A mix of traditional synchronous and asynchronous methods will be employed. Synchronous content may vary, but may consist of live lecture, small group seminars, practical classes and workshops, small group learning activities, role-play activities, peer-led discussions, and question and answer sessions. Students learning will be supported with asynchronous material using our virtual learning environment. Asynchronous contents may include the delivery of the cognitive knowledge base through online lectures, online seminars, online quizzes, online activities and online discussion forums to help students analyse and evaluate information. These contents will be accessible via the online learning platform. Formative assessment and feedback will be provided through online quizzes, activities, self-assessment and through participation of online forums. OSCE preparation sessions will be offered.
The assessment of this unit focuses on capability within the role:
- A multi-station OSCE which will examine history taking, physical assessment skills and clinical reasoning. The clinical reasoning will take the format of a viva where a panel of two assessors will explore the clinical reasoning and decision-making processes for the student allowing demonstration of their underpinning knowledge and critical appraisal of the evidence base.
- A Reflective Case study (3500 words) demonstrating the delivery of personalised healthcare, health promotion, prevention & lifestyle interventions, social prescribing, self-management and behaviour change.
This unit will run over a 10-month period. At the successful completion of this unit, you will be ready for transition to an FCP role in primary care. Having completed unit 1, there is a 2-month period for you to move into Primary Care, however if this is delayed, they we will work with you to identify a later cohort.
This unit forms the second of 2 units for our PGCert First Contact Practitioner. This unit is designed to support healthcare professionals to develop a professional portfolio which demonstrates a master’s level of practice in relation to First Contact Practice. This will be undertaken through critical exploration/awareness of current evidence-based practice, scholarship and research and quality improvement initiatives. Students will generate a portfolio which includes a wide variety of evidence. The portfolio will be summatively assessed at the end of the unit, yet form the foundation for an ongoing professional practice portfolio constantly built upon. This unit will be delivered online with both synchronous and asynchronous content delivery. Students will be required to undertake group work (online), peer-assessed student presentations and self-directed learning. There will be 21 hrs of student contact time, with each student receiving the equivalent of 9 hrs portfolio support as required. Students will be required to undertake and additional 170 hrs of independent study.
Emphasis is placed on the development of qualities such as the capacity for critical reflection and enquiry, which are required for self-determined practice. Most of the learning will be centred around the experiential learning gained whilst on placement and through discussion and debate with experienced clinicians on all aspects of patient management. The unit also aims to foster the qualities of leadership and mentorship, the ability to innovate and initiate change, and to participate in effective collaboration with other professionals.
The assessment of this unit focuses on the development of the Clinical Portfolio mapped against the Knowledge, Skills and Attributes required to meet Stage 2 of the First Contact Practitioners and Advanced Practitioners in Primary Care Roadmap (HEE, 2021).Students will produce a 3,000 word commentary which provide a critically reflective narrative of their development as an FCP (linked to their portfolio evidence).
Applicants must meet the following criteria:
- HCPC-registered physiotherapists or GOsC-registered Osteopaths, who have achieved a minimum of 5 years post-qualifying experience (3+ years minimum musculoskeletal experience)
- Applicants must have the support of their line manager to undertake the course
- Applicants will have permission from their local Primary Care training hubs for application – as per HEE funding requirements
- A suitable clinical mentor must be identified prior to unit 2 (First Contact Practice Stage 2 Placement)
Please note: Students will be required to complete E-LfH modules as stated in the roadmap before enrolling on the units.