First Contact Practitioners PG Cert
Coventry University (Coventry)
1 year part-time
Study level: Postgraduate
This Postgraduate Certificate for First Contact Practitioners is aimed at fully qualified, experienced practitioners who are working in or towards first contact roles.
It is a clinically focused course designed to equip you with high level critical, evaluative and clinical skills to meet the demands of someone working in a first contact practice role. The course is approved by Health Education England as fulfilling stages 1 and 2 of the FCP roadmap to practice (Health Education England, 2021). First contact practitioners and advanced practitioners in primary care: (Musculoskeletal) A roadmap to practice.
- The course aims to provide you with a coherent programme of study relevant to current advanced musculoskeletal (MSK) physiotherapy practice.
- It also offers a wide range of educationally transformative learning opportunities that will enable you to explore and extend the skills, knowledge and professional expertise required to be able to lead and influence musculoskeletal service delivery in a wide range of practice settings.
- The course offers 75 hours mentored clinical practice placement where skills and knowledge gained on the course are applied to the practice setting5.
- There are a number of places fully-funded by Health Education England (HEE) – please see entry requirements for more details.
Global readyAn international outlook, with global opportunities
Teaching excellenceTaught by lecturers who are experts in their field
EmployabilityCareer ready graduates, with the skills to succeed
Why you should study this course
First Contact Practitioner services have been shown to improve MSK pathways, improve onward referral and enhance patient experience and outcomes (NHS England, 2019). The aim is that by 2024, all adults in England will be able to see a Musculoskeletal FCP at their local GP practice without being referred by a GP (NHS England, 2021). Health Education England (HEE) has produced a Roadmap to Practice which sets out the training processes and educational pathways to FCP recognition for MSK physiotherapists (HEE, 2021). This clinically focused programme has been approved by Health Education England as offering a level 7 taught route for FCP recognition. The course covers both stage 1 and stage 2 on the roadmap to practice.
This programme is aimed at fully qualified, experienced and highly motivated practitioners who want to make a difference to clinical practice and work in senior clinical roles. It aims to equip practitioners with advanced level knowledge and skills capable of promoting MSK health, providing safe, effective, high-quality care in the diagnosis and management of individuals with MSK disorders.
Alongside this the course aims to develop physiotherapists who will excel as clinical leaders with the capacity to influence local service delivery; foster evidence-informed practice; lead clinical teams and contribute to the education of the local healthcare workforce. The overall course aim is to produce graduates who will operate at the highest level of practice ready to move into senior clinical roles such as first contact practitioners, advanced physiotherapy practitioners, clinical specialists and consultants.
The course offers two pathways. One pathway has been established for students who wish to complete a period of mentored clinical practice with a Musculoskeletal Association of Physiotherapists (MACP) qualified mentor. The placement can be sourced for you by the university and there are no additional fees for the period of mentored clinical practice (additional costs may apply such as travel and accommodation with respect to the placement)5. The MACP pathway leads to an additional qualification of membership to the MACP (additional fees to join the MACP apply after successfully completing the course). The placement module facilitates the consolidation and application of university-based learning to the clinical setting and allows for fully authentic development of advanced level clinical practice in MSK Physiotherapy in the workplace.
You will learn from our experienced teaching team in the state-of-the-art Alison Gingell Building which provide a stimulating learning environment for healthcare professionals.
To qualify for the PGCert award you must complete the following modules:
- Musculoskeletal Management for Advanced Practice
- A Clinical Approach to Pain for Allied Health Professionals
- Advanced Physiotherapy Practice
- Clinical practice placement for FCPs
Accreditation, Professional Recognition and Exemptions
The programme has been approved by Health Education England as a taught route to First Contact Practitioner recognition. On successful completion of the course the student will be able to apply to the Centre for Advanced Practice at Health Education England to be able to sit on the directory as a recognized First Contact Practitioner.
What you'll study
Musculoskeletal Management for Advanced Practice (MMAP) - 20 credits
This clinically focused module is designed to build on and further develop your existing knowledge, skills and clinical experience ready for advanced practice roles where the focus is on the provision of high-quality care in the diagnosis and management of individuals with MSK disorders and on MSK health promotion. You will specifically focus on developing the breadth and depth of assessment skills necessary to confidently and competently screen and assess individuals presenting with MSK disorders and to place them on an appropriate care pathway. The module aims to enable you to become a practitioner who is an evidence-informed critical thinker, complex problem solver and effective decision maker in all areas of your clinical practice. Specialist guest lecturers are involved in the module delivery providing the opportunities for you to apply new theoretical knowledge to practice and further assisting the development of advanced practical skills.
A Clinical Approach to Pain for Health Professionals - 10 credits
The module challenges and extends your knowledge, skills and capabilities to an advanced level in the effective management of individuals with MSK conditions presenting with acute, persistent or complex pain. Throughout the module you will explore the current evidence base and theories of pain physiology and neuroscience and how this can be applied to clinical practice.
Advanced Physiotherapy Practice (MSK) - 20 credits
This module provides the education, knowledge, skills and competencies you will need to enable you to develop the level of practice required as an Advanced Physiotherapy Practitioner (APP) to work safely, effectively and legally within your scope of practice. In the module you will explore the clinical, educational and leadership pillars of advanced clinical practice. Diagnostics (x-rays, MRI scans and blood tests), systems screening, pharmacology, outcome measures, role governance, clinical audit and change management will all be explored through case scenarios, presentations, case reports and interactive seminars allowing you to develop the principles and practice and to apply these to your own specialist clinical setting.
Clinical Practice for First Contact Practitioners - 10 credits
This clinical placement module will take place in a primary care environment under the supervision of a clinical supervisor who is recognised as either an Advanced Practitioner, a Consultant Practitioner or a GP who has completed the Health Education England (HEE) two-day primary care supervisor training. The minimum requirement is of 75 hours of supervised clinical practice to fulfil the standards set out by Health Education England. Successful completion of this module is demonstrated through a practice portfolio detailing events outlined in the First Contact Practitioner Roadmap alongside a clinical reasoning case-based discussion.
The aim of this module is to synthesise the theoretical and practical components of the student's course, developed through the modules - Musculoskeletal Management for Advanced Practice, A Clinical Approach to Pain for Health Professionals and Advanced Physiotherapy Practice. The students will consider a variety of clinical presentations that will enable them to attain breadth and depth of knowledge and a high level of skill in clinical reasoning. This module will assist in the development of their expertise as both an individual Advanced Practitioner and within their role in their own working environment.
How you'll learn
You will be taught using a mixture of strategies including practical seminars, debates, group work, presentations, lectures, workshops, peer learning, pre-session activities, involvement of service users and problem-based learning using case reports, case scenarios and case studies. These activities are supported through the use of learning enhanced technology.
The course has been designed to be progressive. Module content in semesters 1 and 2 cover the theoretical content of stage 1 of the FCP roadmap. This is then built upon in semester 3 where the student will put theory into practice on clinical placement. The placement will cover the learning needs of stage 2 of the FCP roadmap. This progressive approach facilitates a meaningful, clinically relevant student experience with the aim of modelling high standards of patient care in a variety of ways.
This course is delivered in one year and constitutes part-time study. The course involves a blended mixture of online and face to face study. Our platform provider is currently Aula and offers an interactive learning environment.
Teaching contact hours
Students are usually required to attend teaching sessions, whether this is in the university or online, which equates to approximately one day per week with approximately 8 hours of teaching. The days and times are independent in each module and subject to change.
Additionally, you will be expected to undertake significant self-directed study of approximately 10 hours each week, depending on the demands of individual modules.
Teaching is comprised of a combination of seminar sessions, workshops, practical sessions and lectures. The contact hours may be made up of a combination of face-to-face teaching, individual and group tutorials, and online classes and tutorials.
As an innovative and enterprising institution, the university may seek to utilise emerging technologies within the student experience. For all courses (whether on-campus, blended, or distance learning), the university may deliver certain contact hours and assessments via online technologies and methods.
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, we are prepared for courses due to start in or after the 2022/2023 academic year to be delivered in a variety of forms. The form of delivery will be determined in accordance with Government and Public Health guidance. Whether on campus or online, our key priority is staff and student safety.
You will be assessed through a varied schedule of assessments across the course to ensure you are thinking critically, are clinically competent and have developed the key knowledge, attitude, values and skills required for advanced clinical practice and postgraduate study.
The course assessments have been designed collectively to complement each other and to be learning tools in themselves. Examples of different assessment methods used include:
- Practical vivas
- Clinical vivas
- Case reports
- Reflective assignments
- Educational vlogs
These different assessment approaches are fully relevant to clinical practice and cover written, presentation and visual modes to acknowledge and support different student approaches to learning and different skills required in the workplace.
The Coventry University Group assessment strategy ensures that our courses are fairly assessed and allows us to monitor student progression towards achieving the intended learning outcomes.
Applicants must meet the following criteria. You must:
- Be a HCPC-registered physiotherapist, and have achieved a minimum of 5 years post-qualifying experience (3+ years minimum musculoskeletal experience).
- Normally hold an honours degree in Physiotherapy (2:1 or 60% and above) or equivalent and evidence of continuing professional development that shows an ability to study at master’s level.
- Have the support of your line manager to undertake the course.
- Have a suitable clinical mentor – they must be identified before the start of the Clinical Practice for First Contact Practitioners module.
- Complete elearning for healthcare (E-LfH) modules as stated in the roadmap, before enrolling on the course.
Applicants for HEE funded places will need permission from their local Primary Care training hubs for application – as per HEE funding requirements.
Students whose first language is not English are normally required to have IELTS > 7.0.
We recognise a breadth of qualifications, speak to one of our advisers today to find out how we can help you.
- Be a registered and fully qualified physiotherapist with a minimum of five years’ post-graduate experience with three of these years in the musculoskeletal speciality.
- Normally hold an honours degree in Physiotherapy (2:1 or 60% and above) or equivalent and evidence of continuing professional development that shows an ability to study at master’s level.
- Students whose first language is not English are normally required to have IELTS > 7.0
English language requirements
- IELTS: 7.0 overall with at least 6.5 in each component area
If you don't meet the English language requirements, you can achieve the level you need by successfully completing a pre-sessional English programme before you start your course.
For more information on our approved English language tests visit our English language requirements page.
Fees and funding
2022/23 Tuition fees
|Student||Full time||Part time|
|UK||£3,908 per year||Not available|
|International||£5,650 per year||Not available|
For advice and guidance on tuition fees3 and student loans visit our Postgraduate Finance page.
We offer a range of International scholarships to students all over the world. For more information, visit our International Scholarships page.
You will have access to clinical skills labs4, with the opportunity to use state-of-the-art equipment within the purpose-built Alison Gingell Building.
Alison Gingell Building
Our state-of-the-art Alison Gingell Building features mock hospital wards, an operating theatre, critical care settings and other real-life environments.
Mock Hospital Wards
Our mock hospital wards and critical care settings give you the chance to experience patient scenarios in a real-world environment.
Our two full-size community homes can be used for sessions simulating working with patients outside of a hospital setting.
Careers and opportunities
Successful completion of this course will enable you to demonstrate your competence as a First Contact Practitioner and register on the directory as a First Contact Practitioner at the Centre for Advanced Practice. This Health Education England course directly maps to the First Contact Practitioners and Advanced Practitioners in Primary Care: (Musculoskeletal) A Roadmap to Practice (Health Education England, 2021). This course offers the opportunity to progress your knowledge and skill through progression on to the MSc MSK Physiotherapy course.
It aims to prepare graduates capable of operating at the highest level of clinical practice who will excel as clinical leaders and are ready to move into senior clinical roles with the capacity to influence local service delivery; foster evidence informed practice; lead clinical teams and contribute to the education of the local healthcare workforce.
This course supports the ‘upskilling’ and development for FCP. It fully explores the clinical pillar of advanced clinical practice and maps to the Advanced Clinical Practice Framework (2018 Health Education England); First Contact Practitioners and Advanced Practitioners in Primary Care: (Musculoskeletal) A Roadmap to Practice (Health Education England, 2021) and the International Federation of Manipulative Physical Therapists Education Standards (IFOMPT, 2016).
On completion of this course graduates will have the opportunity to use the credits towards the full MSc in Musculoskeletal Physiotherapy. This additional course maps directly to the four pillars of advanced practice. It can lead to membership of the Musculoskeletal Association of Chartered Physiotherapists (MACP) and a level 7 CMI certificate. Additional annual fees are required to gain full membership of the MACP.
How to apply
The majority of our courses have been formally recognised by professional bodies, which means the courses have been reviewed and tested to ensure they reach a set standard. In some instances, studying on an accredited course can give you additional benefits such as exemptions from professional exams (subject to availability, fees may apply). Accreditations, partnerships, exemptions and memberships shall be renewed in accordance with the relevant bodies’ standard review process and subject to the university maintaining the same high standards of course delivery.
2UK and international opportunities
Please note that we are unable to guarantee any UK or International opportunities (whether required or optional) such as internships, work experience, field trips, conferences, placements or study abroad opportunities and that all such opportunities may be subject to additional costs (which could include, but is not limited to, equipment, materials, bench fees, studio or facilities hire, travel, accommodation and visas), competitive application, availability and/or meeting any applicable travel COVID and visa requirements. To ensure that you fully understand the visa requirements, please contact the International Office.
The University will charge the tuition fees that are stated in the above table for the first Academic Year of study. The University will review tuition fees each year. For Home Students, if Parliament permit an increase in tuition fees, the University may increase fees for each subsequent year of study in line with any such changes. Note that any increase is expected to be in line with inflation.
For International Students, we may increase fees each year but such increases will be no more than 5% above inflation. If you defer your course start date or have to extend your studies beyond the normal duration of the course (e.g. to repeat a year or resit examinations) the University reserves the right to charge you fees at a higher rate and/or in accordance with any legislative changes during the additional period of study.
Facilities are subject to availability. Due to the ongoing restrictions relating to COVID-19, some facilities (including some teaching and learning spaces) may vary from those advertised and may have reduced availability or restrictions on their use.
Satisfactory health clearance and enhanced criminal record disclosure is also required. As part of the health clearance checks you will be required to provide information about your immunity and vaccination status. You will also be required to provide information about your COVID-19 vaccination status. We therefore recommend that you are fully vaccinated including the COVID-19 vaccine. The information you provide will be used to determine your eligibility to go on placement(s). Placements are provided at the placement provider’s discretion. The University is therefore unable to guarantee the provision of placements or the location and type of placement offered.
By accepting your offer of a place and enrolling with us, a Student Contract will be formed between you and the university. The 2022/23 Contract is currently being updated so please revisit this page before submitting your application. The Contract details your rights and the obligations you will be bound by during your time as a student and contains the obligations that the university will owe to you. You should read the Contract before you accept an offer of a place and before you enrol at the university.