Advanced Clinical Practice - First Contact Practitioners
What is a First Contact Practitioner?
✔ A First Contact Practitioner (FCP) is a diagnostic clinician working in Primary Care at the top of their clinical scope of practice at master’s level, Agenda for Change Band 7 (see 1.3) or equivalent and above. This allows the FCP to be able to assess and manage patients with undifferentiated and undiagnosed presentations. They can demonstrate the Knowledge Skills and Attributes (KSA) in appendix 12.14.
✔ It is the minimum threshold for working as a first point of contact with undifferentiated undiagnosed conditions in Primary Care. With additional training, FCP occupational therapists can build towards advanced practice, the competency required for dealing with clinical and contextual complexity using advanced decision-making skills where protocols and pathways may not exist (RCOT 2021a).
✔ To become an FCP, recognition is recommended through Health Education England, whereby an Occupational Therapist must have completed a taught or portfolio route.
✔ FCP Occupational Therapists refer patients to GPs and/or other members of the primary care team for the medical management of patient presentations and pharmacology outside their agreed scope of practice.
Primary Care Educational Pathways
There are two main educational pathways to practice in Primary Care:
- FCP portfolio and taught routes with onward portfolio route or a taught AP master’s to AP in Primary Care.
- AP portfolio or taught routes with the addition of the required Primary Care KSA training and e-learning