First Contact Physiotherapist (FCP)

First contact physiotherapists can help patients with musculoskeletal issues such as back, neck and joint pain.

Patients are now able to contact their local physiotherapist directly, rather than waiting to see a GP or waiting to be referred to hospital, including patients with conditions such as arthritis or soft tissue injuries.

In This Section

Video Support

Common Musculoskeletal Issues

Back & Neck Pain

Back & neck pain is common and can usually improve within a few weeks. In most cases the pain is not caused by anything serious and will usually get better over time.
Click here for our advice on what you can do to help relieve back pain.
For information on how to ease neck pain click here.

Joint Pain

Joint pain is a common problem that can have many possible causes. It could be a result of injury or arthritis. Click here to read about different types of joint pains and their causes.
Cwm Taf Morgannwg UHB has a free Joint Care Programme. This service can help support you to lose weight, become more active and reduce pain.
For more information click here.


There are different types of Arthritis. It is a common condition that causes pain and inflammation in a joint. It can affect people of all ages, including children.
There are many ways you can manage arthritis and there are also treatments available to help slow down arthritis, such as medication and surgery.
For help and support with arthritis Versus Arthritis have a free helpline you can call 0800 5200 520, Monday to Friday, 9am to 8pm.

When to see a FCP

FCPs are available when you are becoming physically affected by an injury, illness or disability. Health conditions affecting:

  • bones, joints and soft tissue - such as back pain, neck pain, shoulder pain and sports injuries
  • brain or nervous system - such as movement problems resulting from a stroke, multiple sclerosis (MS) or Parkinson's disease
  • heart and circulation - such as rehabilitation after a heart attack
  • lungs and breathing - such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and cystic fibrosis

FCPS can improve your physical activity while helping you to prevent further injuries.

The benefits of FCPs

Direct access to a FCP makes it easier for patients to access a physiotherapist. FCPs can provide a quicker diagnosis or treatment of musculoskeletal issues than going through a GP appointment or referral.
FCPs can help patients to manage their conditions more effectively, to recover faster and get back to normal life.

An appointment with your FCP can include:

  • assessing and diagnosing your issue - reducing waiting times and NHS referrals
  • giving expert advice on how best to manage your condition - for a higher quality of care
  • referring you onto specialist services if necessary - as a result of a longer and more in-depth assessment

How to access a FCP appointment

To access an appointment with a FCP, please call your GP surgery. The receptionist will check you are eligible and then book an appointment for you.