Benefits of First Contact Practitioners (FCPs) include:

  • Public
    • Improved quality of life and quicker return to work and activities
    • Appropriate assessment and positioning in the correct place in the quickest time with all supporting work up completed including assessments, investigations and any initial treatment began
    • Amputation prevention: saving lives and saving limbs!
  • PCN
    • Reduced financial impact
    • Reduced pressure for GP in appointments
    • Increased multi-disciplinary input to the functioning PCN and invaluable contribution to team for lower limb contribution.
  • Pockets
    • Utilising ARRS funding
    • Reduction in secondary care pressure
    • Reduced financial burden: fewer repeated appointments and pharmacological savings.
Public survey - It's what the public wants!
In a large public survey 85% of people stated they would like direct access to a podiatrist without going through the GP. FCPs in primary care would benefit not only the public, but the PCN’s, the financial impact on primary and secondary care, and the workload and pressures on our current GPs. More FCPs would increase the capacity for lower limb assessment and diagnosis with a focus on prevention which would improve population health management, we would see early detection of problems, and therefore a more effective use of the resources and an overall better outcome for the patient.

See also: What should primary care look like for the next generation?
Health and Sports Committee. The Scottish Parliament. 2019

Lower limb presentations are multifaceted, for example, calf swelling could be due to several different system presentations; vascular, neurological, musculoskeletal, trauma, infectious and a delay in correct diagnosis or treatment could not only lead to excess costs within primary or secondary care and impact on patient quality of life and at worse could lead to potential loss of part or all of the limb or life. It is vital for the lower limb health of the population that a podiatrist is positioned in primary care to provide the level of assessment and treatment required to prevent the escalation of these problems.  

An audit was carried out by the Royal College of Podiatry (2023) demonstrating the potential value and saving of both time and cost within primary care:

  • Each FCP can save 80 GP or other primary care staff appointments per week
  • It is estimated that 76% of FPC podiatrist caseload was managed independently by the podiatrist
  • 5% of the caseload required GP input, 4% PCN team input, and 15% resulted in onward referral to community and secondary care services.

Find out more about podiatrists in primary care

Watch the video below to find out about the benefits of FCP to your PCN:

Download our flyer showing the role of podiatrists within primary care

Case studies

The following clinical case studies demonstrate clinical excellence by first contact podiatrists 

  1. Louis Mamode - A case of undiagnosed DVT
  2. A case of Freiberg’s disease in a nine-year-old girl

Watch the video below to hear the patient's perspective on the clinical excellence of FCP podiatry: