C. Black1, H. Gray2, S. Shanmugam3

1Buckinghamshire NHS Foundation Trust, UK

2Healthcare Improvement Scotland, UK

3Glasgow Caledonian University, UK


Patients at risk of preventable sickness absence frequently attend at primary care. First contact physiotherapists (FCP) may provide an optimal way of reducing this risk; however, there is significant variability in clinical practice, limited research directing best practice and this work and health role is traditionally seen as outside of the ‘therapeutic relationship’. If FCP’s training and development in this area is considered, FCP’s will be able to effectively conduct fitness for work and sickness absence certification within UK primary care settings.


To reach expert consensus for work-related competencies for FCP practice for patients at risk of preventable sickness absence.


A modified Delphi technique involved a UK-wide FCP expert panel completing three rounds of an online questionnaire. The initial 30-competency questionnaire, based on two separate Nominal Group Techniques in a FCP and Association of Chartered Physiotherapists in Occupational Health and Ergonomics (ACPOHE) physiotherapist cohort and Health Education England’s published Roadmap to Practice, covered occupational health specific items (knowledge and skills) related to the topic.


Of the 30 initial competencies, 20 (67%) reached a strong degree of consensus. 20 OH specific competencies reached a priori consensus level of agreement to provide the final group list.


This paper provides an empirically derived list of OH competencies for FCP education in primary care ‘first point of care’ physiotherapy with a high level of expert agreement and high retention rate between rounds. OH professionals can support our colleagues in primary care by further developing their competency in this area.


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