First contact practitioners

First Contact Practitioners (FCPs) are a recent addition to the Primary Care workforce. Experienced paramedics, podiatrists, physiotherapists, dietitians, and occupational therapists are now fulfilling these roles, taking responsibility for the assessment and management of patients in Primary Care. With their experience and training, they can see patients with undiagnosed and undifferentiated conditions, thereby reducing demand on other Primary Care clinicians. 

The content on this webpage is regularly updated as more course information comes online. Please do not download resources but return here for up-to-date guidance.

FCP programme

In 2022, an exercise to procure providers to deliver a package of training and education to support the FCP programme was led by NHS England’s National Primary and Integrated Care team, to align and approve this with regional requirements and flexibility. Three key areas where support and robust governance were required were identified, which became the basis of the specification:

  • Learning Needs Analysis (LNA): to support the identification of training and education requirements to ensure all learners complete all aspects needed to work in an FCP role
  • FCP Taught Route: commissioning of learner places on education modules, to complete Stage 1 and / or Stage 2 of the FCP Taught Route as identified through the LNA, including development and use of an e-portfolio system for learners to upload reflections and evidence for sign-off. Evidence of successful completion to be issued by the relevant education provider
  • FCP Portfolio Route: delivery and management of this route, including development and use of an e-portfolio system for learners to upload reflections and evidence for sign-off. Evidence of successful completion to be issued by the relevant education provider

This webpage therefore reflects the identified course provision for FCP training in Primary Care.

Please be aware, we are awaiting clarification about the future provision for those FCPs who are currently advanced in the previous FCP Portfolio route.

First contact practitioner courses

FCP courses are available through various Higher Education Institutes (HEIs). All providers offer both the Taught and Portfolio Routes.

To enrol on a course, apply via your preferred HEI and complete their LNA. From here, they will determine if you need to do the FCP module or the E-supported Portfolio Route.

To continue your development journey to Advanced Practice, the transfer of credits to an MSc Advanced Clinical Practice (ACP) programme is currently confirmed for the transfer to the MSc ACP within that university. Transfer of credits to another HEI will need to be discussed on an individual basis.

Frequently asked questions

The following information has been drawn together from a variety of sources. It is regularly updated as more course information comes online. Please do not download and return here for up-to-date guidance.

Last updated 14 November 2023

How long is the funding for education providers secured for?

The funding is allocated per financial year, and will be confirmed with education providers each year.

The contract life is until March 2025, plus two additional years – subject to funding.

What are the eligibility criteria for an allied health professional (AHP) to access training and education to work in an FCP role?

AHP must have five years of Postgraduate experience, including at least three years’ experience in the area of practice the individual will be delivering in Primary Care.

Whilst the Care Quality Commission recommends completion of Stage 1 before entering a Primary Care role and Stage 2 within six-months of gaining said employment, this hasn’t been possible for AHPs already working within the Primary Care system. This provision gives these individuals the opportunity to complete the required training and education to work in an FCP role successfully.

What happens to FCPs who have completed the Portfolio / Taught Route prior to the new education providers being procured?

Individuals who have completed both Stage 1 and Stage 2 of the FCP Roadmap should retain their evidence of completion – either a portfolio signed by their supervisor (Portfolio Route), or certification of completion from an education provider (Taught Route).

If the individual has part completed the required training and education (e.g., only Stage 1), they can access an FCP course, complete a Learning Needs Analysis (LNA) and be supported through the remainder of the training and education via an education provider.

Do learners have to complete both Stage 1 and Stage 2 in order to be an FCP and receive certification?

Yes, both parts must be completed.

If an individual has partly completed the required training and education, they should contact one of the procured education providers to complete an LNA and continue with the required training and education route to completion.

Who is responsible for sourcing supervisors and placements for FCPs?

In most cases initially, individuals will already be working within the Primary Care system with a supervisor and will therefore not require supervision / placement access to complete the training and education.

It is usually a requirement of the Taught Route that individuals will have already sourced a supervisor.

Are there any geographical restrictions for learners accessing the procured education providers provision?

The procured education providers have agreed to take learners on a national basis, meaning that any learner can access any of the education providers providing training and education for the appropriate FCP Roadmap regardless of where they are based.

Information in this guidance (Appendix 2) details which education providers are delivering fully online provision.

I have an aspiring FCP who wants to access learning via a HEI that wasn’t part of the procurement, is this allowed?

The funding available is only for the education providers successful in the national procurement process.

If an individual wants to self-fund, or has access to alternative funding, they can do this. However, they should ensure the education provider has completed the NHSE self-declaration process with the Centre for Advancing Practice, and that certification of completion will be issued.

I am working on the existing Portfolio Route, what should I do?

To achieve recognition of your portfolio via one of the new education providers, you may apply for an LNA of the work achieved to date. Your chosen HEI will be able to guide you on your next step to achieve certification.

Who can be an FCP supervisor?

Supervisors who align to the regional quality framework (see Appendix 1 for more detail) and the quality in primary care workstream which approves educators and learning environments at scale can supervise an FCP – including, but not limited to, those who have completed the historic RMSV two-day training (now discontinued).

Can we align FCP supervision to supervision initiatives for other roles in Primary Care?

Yes. Regions are enabled to align this to other supervision initiatives to transfer the FCP programme to business as usual (see Appendix 1)

I am an educator for a trainee FCP, who can support me with any questions?

The HEI that your learner is registered with is well placed to support with any supervision queries. Alternatively, you should contact TVW Primary Care School.

Appendix 1 – South East Region FCP supervision aligned to other supervision initiatives for other roles in primary care

To supervise an AHP completing a primary care roadmap to practice (First Contact Practitioner), individuals must:

Familiarise themselves with the Workplace Based Assessment requirements of the relevant HEI course. The HEIs usually offer written guidance to clinical supervisors for this purpose. Prospective supervisors can access an online overview of some workplace based assessment tools here

Be a minimum of 3 years post registration in their professional speciality area of practice and include one year working in primary care

Be in good standing with the HCPC

Be practising in the area they are supervising

Consultant Practitioner or Advanced practitioner or completed First Contact Practitioner stage 2 or existing roadmap supervisor trainer (2-day course)

Complete eLearning:

– NHSE SE AHP Practice Educator Programme eLearning

Be working in (or working towards) an NHSE WT&E PCN approved clinical learning environment PCN level approved learning environment

Optional Roadmap Supervision ELfH video  

Be 2 years post CCT

Be in good standing with the GMC and NHS England

Complete a GP Clinical Supervisors course (Wessex) or ‘Training for non – Trainers’ (Thames Valley)

Please note this is the same course GPs attend to supervise some doctors in training and you will therefore be screened on application for some pre-requisite information. If you do not meet these pre-requisites, you will still be invited to attend the course and may supervise the wider workforce as appropriate, but will not be invited to accredit with Thames Valley Wessex GP school to supervise doctors in training 

For further details please contact:

Thames Valley – Head of GP School (manjiri.bodhe@nhs.net) or Education Programme Officer Carolyn Puliti Picchi (c.pulitipicchi@nhs.net) for further information and signposting.

Wessex – Associate Dean for Train the Trainers (ranjan.dass@nhs.net) or Professional Development Unit (england.pdu.wx@nhs.net)

 Be working in (or working towards) an NHSE WT&E PCN level approved learning environment

Top up Training Video for GP’s Supervising AHPs

Completed the original roadmap supervisor and verification training (2-days) or if not:

Be 3 years post-registration and 1 year in Primary Care

Be in good standing with the NMC

Relevant post-registration Level 7 enhanced study or Consultant practitioner or Advanced Practitioner

Have completed an NMC practice assessor preparation programme and have prior experience as a practice supervisor, mentor/sign off mentor or practice teacher. More information available via Primary Care School to source local practice assessor offer, or:

Open University (free course) Practice supervision and assessment in nursing  

Have advanced equivalent knowledge and experience for the learner’s field of practice and meeting the requirements of the relevant HEI

Be working in (or working towards) an NHSE WT&E PCN level approved learning environment

Optional Roadmap Supervision ELfH video   

For any queries regarding the information in appendix 1 please contact the TVW Primary Care School at  england.primarycareschooltvw.se@nhs.net