Summary A small qualitative study was carried out to identify and describe issues perceived to arise for physiotherapists from the introduction and expansion of musculoskeletal physiotherapy based in fundholding general practices and health centres in one health authority. Five National Health Service physiotherapists each working in a general practice fundholding setting were interviewed. The audiotaped interviews were transcribed and analysed to develop coding categories. Findings were verified by a further structured interview with the same participants which clarified the coding categories and established the consistency of participants' views. Three main themes emerged: the extrinsic influences on musculoskeletal physiotherapy in a general practice setting; the perceived uncertainties of practice in this new setting; and the responsibilities which the new context of practice entails. Although the findings of this small study must be regarded as preliminary, they highlight issues which would merit further discussion and consideration by the profession.