Single-Arm Observational Service Evaluation: Efficacy of a Single Advanced Physiotherapy Practitioner Intervention for Patients with Chronic Musculoskeletal Pain.
Musculoskeletal (MSK) conditions account for a significant portion of General Practitioner (GP) consultations and are therefore a burden on our health service and especially primary care as these conditions are largely managed within primary and community care. Patients with chronic MSK conditions consult with their GP five times more often than those without and as the age of the population increased this burden is expected to add increased pressure to primary care.
First Contact Physiotherapists (FCP) work at an advanced level of practice as first contacts within primary care and provide a possible solution for these patients. The proliferation of these roles over the last few years has been supported in the literature through studies reporting on the impact of FCP services and satisfaction surveys. NHS documents such as the Long Term Plan also promote an increase in FCP roles and organisations such as the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy and the Royal College of General Practitioners have endorsed FCP. Patients find this role to be an acceptable alternative to accessing their GP for specific conditions which supports these roles from the patients’ perspective.
Despite this support there has been very little evidence to demonstrate the efficacy of FCP services on patient outcomes. This service evaluation therefore aimed to determine the efficacy of FCP interventions on patient outcomes.
An FCP consultation may comprise of an assessment, diagnosis, advice and exercise prescription and as these interventions have been demonstrated in the literature to improve pain self-efficacy (SE) it was decided to assess the outcome of FCP services on the pain self-efficacy of patients with chronic MSK pain.