How have we impacted on Primary Care?

Sally York, First Contact Practitioner
Dr Craig Milne, GP
Dr Jude Gunasegaram, GP

Over the last year SMSKP have been working with Primary Care to support a national effort to get physiotherapists working as First Contact Practitioners.

We asked some Practices who we have been working with to share how this and other work the Sussex MSK Partnership does affects them.

Lara Belle, Brow Medical Centre:

“Despite the pandemic, SMSK have continued to see most patients within a reasonable timeframe and contact them promptly to let them know when their appointment will be.

“It is really fantastic for patients to be able to self-refer for physiotherapy – the service is safe with a comprehensive questionnaire that checks for red flags and it saves time all round.

“It is particularly helpful that if the physiotherapist feels they need input from the wider MSK team they can simply refer them on without having to involve the GP. It is absolutely brilliant to be able to signpost patients with a hand problem to self-refer.

“They are seen really quickly too – an outstanding service for conditions that really impact patients functioning and lives. The clinic letters are comprehensive and helpful for the patient, but crucially, as a GP, the headline message is succinct and any actions for the GP) are clearly highlighted.”


Over the last year SMSKP has continued to roll out FCPs across the geography.  SMSKP have recruited to 8 additional posts and currently have 23 staff providing FCP clinics as part of their work plan with a further 7 being actively trained in clinic. 

  • Staff were chosen specifically to reflect their experience and level of confidence in delivering a new service
  • All staff undertook the national primary care e-learning developed by HEE
  • All staff shadowed both experienced FCPs and GPs prior to commencing their clinics
  • All staff were supported by the learning and development team and the practice staff to familiarise themselves with the new IT systems and processes
  • The FCPs have worked together to develop and support each other’s clinical practice
  • We have worked with the ICS digital team to further develop the capacity to collect data and develop a digital offering eg MSK Assist

  • We have developed a patient feedback survey reflecting the values of patient centered care
  • So far over 1,100 patients have been seen by our FCPs. The majority of patients are referred for Spinal or Knee reasons, which is in line with national data values.  Over 70% of patients find what they need from their first appointment.
  • Anecdotally the service has been broadly welcomed by the patients, FCPs and practice staff. We have now developed a feedback form and link for patients and practice staff as the next stage of evaluation.
  • We will continue to support staff in these roles and work with the practices to develop the service.
  • We have already developed one member of staff to be able to work independently and have started to explore supporting members of the team to become independent prescribers.
  • We are creating an audit to explore the themes of the impact of moving this service from a F2F service prior to COVID-19 to a largely virtual service.

2020 SMSKP Stories

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