Osteopaths needed for First Contact Practitioner trial

This January, osteopath Tim Allardyce, will be launching the first pilot to demonstrate how osteopaths can fulfill the role of a First Contact Practitioner. The pilot, which is funded by the Osteopathic Foundation, is looking for osteopaths in or around the Wandsworth, Clapham, or Farnborough areas, with five years’ experience. The roles are for three sessions per week in a Primary Care Network. Applications close 20 December.

FCPs are experienced musculoskeletal therapists who are suitably qualified and skilled to manage patients at the first point of contact. FCPs are typically physiotherapists but can be osteopaths with a minimum of five years’ experience plus advanced musculoskeletal training. FPCs work within a GP surgery, seeing patients who are signposted by the receptionist, an online triage portal or self-referred. FCPs are the equivalent of band 7 or band 8a in the NHS system.

Tim says of FCPs: “These roles involve triage, assessment and diagnosis. You will need to have the confidence and ability to manage complex caseloads, working in a multidisciplinary environment, and align with patient management pathways.”

The oF board selected this as one of its funded projects in its second round of grants. Tim says, “I was obviously delighted that the project got the green light for funding. This is a crucial project to prove that osteopaths have the skills and expertise for these roles, in exactly the same manner as physiotherapists.”

The project is already receiving significant interest from Health Education England, who is responsible for healthcare workforce planning. They are keen to see the pilot succeed and see osteopaths contributing to NHS services.

Matthew Rogers, iO Head of Professional Development, worked in the NHS as an osteopath for over 10 years, commented: “This is a significant development for osteopathic practice and holds huge potential for the future of our profession. I welcome the fact that the NHS is now recognising the considerable expertise that osteopaths have to offer and look forward to future developments.”

Download FCPO Job description which included details of how to apply