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Musculoskeletal First Contact Practitioner in Primary Care Practice
September 2024 | 1 day per week over 10 weeks (term-time only)

This module aligns to the knowledge, skills and attributes of a first contact practitioner (FCP) within primary care.

*Please download and complete the authorisation form via the link below and upload during your application. This is essential for your application to be accepted. Please also upload a copy of your CV with your application. To apply please make a note of the delivery date, click 'Apply Now' above, and then choose the correct delivery month on the application screen.*

The Musculoskeletal First Contact Practitioner course is a 40 credit, level 7 MSc module. The course content aligns with Health Education England’s MSK FCP roadmap. 

The module is taught by clinical experts who will support you in developing advanced criticality towards clinical reasoning and decision-making in primary care. Through a combination of university and placement learning, you will develop advanced skills in clinical communication, assessment, diagnosis, and complex condition management using a personalised care approach. 

You will be supported in further developing research and leadership skills by critically analysing research, governance, and clinical safety issues. This will enable you to identify service improvements that support a safe, effective, and sustainable primary care service.  

During the supervised practice placement, you will establish a professional development portfolio demonstrating your FCP capabilities. Portfolio development and maintenance will be pivotal in demonstrating your ongoing professional development and to maintain Health Education England FCP recognition.

This FCP course is recognised by Health Education England’s Centre for Advancing Practice.

The below link provides more information on the Centre's approaches to standardising education and training along the continuum of advancing practice:




Course Information

Award Type 40 credit, Level 7 MSc module

Delivery Method Day Release

Mode of Study
Combination of On Campus, Online & Practice based learning

Northumbria University Coach Lane Campus, Online and Work based

Start September 2024

1 day per week over 10 weeks (term-time only)

Health and Social Care, Sport and Wellbeing


This module focuses upon developing the knowledge, skills, and attributes that underpin safe and effective musculoskeletal practice as a first contact practitioner (FCP) in primary care settings.  You will learn about the context and recent clinical innovations within primary care practice as well as explore your role as an FCP and its function within the wider primary care team. 

You will advance your knowledge and skills in advanced diagnostics of musculoskeletal and undifferentiated pathologies and consider how to manage and stratify clinical risk and uncertainty in the diagnostic/ clinical management process.  The module will guide you to consider how to best employ an inclusive personalised care approach towards managing the complex medical, physical and psychological, socioeconomic and cultural needs of primary care service users. 

During the module you will explore advanced communication methods, behaviour change and shared decision making approaches to support the delivery of multi- component management plans that include health promotion and disease prevention.

You will develop your leadership and research skills by critically analysing clinical research, governance and patient safety issues to help identify service improvements that support safe, effective, and sustainable primary care services delivery.  In addition, you will practice your FCP skills during a primary care placement with the support of the University and practice based supervisors.  This experience will consolidate the knowledge and skills developed within the University to enable you to practically apply and understand the links between theory and practice.

The module runs one day per week over 10 weeks. Lectures will not be timetabled during university holidays.

How will you be assessed?

•        Successful completion of a 75hours primary care placement and portfolio of evidence.

•        5000-word reflective assignment.

•        5-minute poster presentation of a service development proposal.

  • Must be a physiotherapist or osteopath holding a UK recognised qualification and HCPC registration.
  • Must have 3 years experience in musculoskeletal practice.
  • Applicants will need to demonstrate an English language proficiency score via the IELTs of 7.0.
  • Must provide evidence of attaining a primary care placement with Roadmap supervisor or GP trainer support.

Knowledge & Understanding:

  • Demonstrate an advanced level of critical understanding, clinical reasoning and clinical skills in the assessment and diagnosis of MSK and undifferentiated conditions which includes appropriate selection of diagnostic investigations and onward diagnostic referrals. (Domain B).
  • Demonstrate critical knowledge and comprehensive management of musculoskeletal conditions, undifferentiated diagnoses, and associated comorbidities through multiple and inter-related interventions, sign-posting and onward referral via collaborative MDT working. (Domain C)

Intellectual / Professional skills & abilities:

  • Demonstrate the ability to critically evaluate the role of evidence-based practice to support the FCPs role within primary care. (Domain D)
  • Demonstrate leadership, research, and evidence base practice skills to evaluate, design and implement services that meet service user preferences and that are of local value and impact. (Domain D)

Personal Values Attributes (Global / Cultural awareness, Ethics, Curiosity) (PVA):

  • Demonstrate advanced use of interpersonal and communication skills to apply a personalised care approach during clinical encounters and when assessing the value and impact of services delivered to service users. (Domain A). 



For any queries about application process please contact us on

For any specific queries about the course content please contact Sarah Audsley on

Please register your interest for this course and we will be in touch once we have confirmed dates.

If you’d like to receive the latest updates from Northumbria about our courses, events, finance & funding then enter your details below.

* At Northumbria we are strongly committed to protecting the privacy of personal data. To view the University’s Privacy Notice please click here

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