You are receiving this patient information leaflet as you have recently booked a virtual consultation with our FCP (First Contact Practitioner). As this process may be new to you, we thought we would share with you some frequently asked questions (and answers) regarding FCP virtual consultations.
The information below will give you an overview of what to expect from your consultation and give you some guidance on how you can work with your FCP to help establish a diagnosis and form the most suitable treatment and management plan.
What is an FCP?
An FCP is a First Contact Practitioner. They are an experienced member of the healthcare team – in this case a musculoskeletal specialist – who specifically deals with symptoms thought to be caused by your musculoskeletal system.
I’ve never heard of an FCP, is this a new thing?
FCPs have been working in primary care for many years. However, it is only more recently that they have become commonly placed, and can be found working in the vast majority of medical centres throughout the country.
What is a virtual consultation?
A virtual consultation is a non-face to face consultation that is conducted by telephone or video.
So how can they diagnose my problem without seeing me face to face?
It is a common misconception that a medical professional needs to see someone face to face to make a diagnosis. Evidence shows that virtual assessments are as accurate as face to face assessments in non-complex cases.
So what happens if my case is complex?
Complex cases are rare and the high majority of cases can be diagnosed and treated virtually. However, your FCP is here to help! Should they feel that a face to face consultation is required, they will not hesitate to book you one.
How can someone be treated virtually? I thought that I might need hands on treatment.
Again, this is a common misconception. The evidence shows that the benefits of hands on treatment in the majority of conditions makes little difference to long term outcomes. NICE (National Institute for Care and Excellence) recommend that the treatment and management for the majority of conditions should include: education, reassurance, lifestyle changes, exercise and over the counter pain medication.
So what can I do to make the most of my consultation?
Our recommendations are to find a quiet private place when you are able to honestly discuss your past medical history and symptoms. We suggest wearing clothing that allows your FCP to see the part of your body that is causing you pain. If you have chosen to have a video call, ensure you have your phone positioned in a place where the FCP can see your whole body as they will be asking you to perform some movements.