First Contact Practitioner


First Contact Physiotherapist

We provide a First Contact Physiotherapy service for all patients registered in South Southwark. Below is further information about the service.

What is First Contact Physiotherapy?

First Contact Physiotherapists (FCP) are experienced musculoskeletal physiotherapists, who have a number of years' experience working in MSK. This means that a patient can see an experienced physiotherapist for an assessment directly at their GP practice, without needing to see a GP or be referred externally.


How to access an FCP appointment?

You do not need to see a GP to get an appointment with an FCP, simply call your GP Practice, explain that you are having a MSK problem (joint, bone, muscle, tendon), and they can book you directly with one of the FCP team. You can also ask your GP, or any other practitioner at your GP Practice, to do this if you have an appointment with them about something else. There is no referral form required.


Where are services provided?

We offer appointments, Monday to Friday, at two sites across South Southwark

  • Tessa Jowell Health Centre, East Dulwich Grove, London SE22 8EY
  • DMC Chadwick Road, 60 Chadwick Rd, London SE15 4PU

What to expect during your FCP appointment?

Please arrive on time for your appointment. You are advised to arrive 5 minutes early. If you are late for your appointment, you will not be seen and will need to re-arrange.

Your FCP will take a detailed history of your condition, they may also question some of your past medical history to gain a better understanding of your symptoms and to rule out other pathology. They will then assess the joint at fault to aim to gain a detailed diagnosis, which will be explained to you.

The FCP and yourself will then come up with a plan moving forward, generally this is some rehabilitation exercises and advice on management of your condition.

The FCPs work closely with the GP’s, and often liaise about conditions and work together if this is required for the management of your condition (e.g. prescriptions.)


Please note

The FCP service is not a physiotherapy treatment service, but your FCP will always make you aware to return if your condition is not getting better.

We may use the GetUBetter self management app, for exercise progression. If you wanted to trial this before seeing an FCP you can gain access here:

Register for GetUBetter

If your FCP feels you need ongoing physiotherapy treatment, they will refer to the Hospital Physiotherapy service.

If your FCP feels that you need further investigations or referral they are able to refer you for scanning, or to hospital based services, or to the local joint injection service.

Further Information

For more information about what do expect during your FCP appointment – please watch the following video: When to see your FCP