The vast majority of musculoskeletal first contact practitioners are physiotherapists with enhanced skills. They can help patients with musculoskeletal issues such as back, neck and joint pain by:
- assessing and diagnosing issues
- giving expert advice on how best to manage their conditions
- referring them onto specialist services if necessary.
Patients with back and joint pain, including conditions such as arthritis, will now be able to contact their local physiotherapist directly, rather than waiting to see a GP or being referred to hospital. Patients can also see a physiotherapist by speaking to the GP practice receptionist or by being referred by their GP.
Low back and neck pain are the greatest cause of years lost to disability in the UK, with chronic joint pain or osteoarthritis affecting more than 8.75 million people. In addition, musculoskeletal conditions also account for 30% of all GP appointments.