Written By: Senior Physiotherapist, Luke Eastwell.
Physiotherapists are equipped with the qualifications as first-contact practitioners, most commonly with musculoskeletal conditions. This means your physio can be your first point of contact for assessing and managing your musculoskeletal condition. Research and clinical experience show the majority of musculoskeletal conditions that are managed by physiotherapists are done so effectively with physio primary care, without involvement of GP or specialist medical referral. Effective use of physiotherapists as first-contact practitioners therefore has the potential to reduce workload/wait times for GP’s.
Some recent literature indicates that as little as only 1% of patients triaged through physiotherapy for an initial musculoskeletal complaint required review from the GP, and 12% requiring a prescription. The clinical bottom line is your physio and your GP will work together where required to enhance management e.g., requesting further imaging, pain relief, injections, or where necessary involving specialist referral e.g., surgical opinion. However, for most cases, your physio will guide your full musculoskeletal assessment and thorough recovery as the primary practitioner.