US pro­ject to help re­lieve bur­den on NHS clin­i­cians

Physi­cian As­so­ci­ates to be in­tro­duced in Hilling­don Hos­pi­tal

Harefield Gazette - - NEWS - By Kather­ine Cle­men­tine

THE United States is to ride to the res­cue of Hilling­don Hos­pi­tal by pro­vid­ing 200 new Physi­cian As­so­ci­ates (PA) staff.

Hilling­don Hos­pi­tals NHS Foun­da­tion Trust will over­see the ar­rival of the PAs, whose role will be to “al­le­vi­ate pres­sures” on doc­tors, GPs and clin­i­cians dur­ing a two year sec­ond­ment.

The pro­gramme’s aim will be to im­prove pa­tient care in the NHS by pro­vid­ing ad­di­tional ex­pe­ri­enced pro­fes­sion­als, who will sup­port ser­vices cur­rently re­ly­ing on tem­po­rary staffing ar­range­ments, of­ten at a sig­nif­i­cant cost.

Dr Nick Jenk­ins, who re­cently com­pleted a sec­ond­ment at Hilling­don Hos­pi­tal, is lead­ing the Na­tional Physi­cian As­so­ciate Ex­pan­sion Pro­gramme.

He said PAs would help ad­dress NHS staff short­ages and en­cour­age more UK can­di­dates with science de­grees to en­ter the health ser­vice.

“Amer­ica val­ues the role of PAs in help­ing clin­i­cians tackle in­creas­ingly heavy work­loads,” he said.

“Al­most 100,000 are em­ployed in the States com­pared to just 200 in Eng­land.

“It’s a re­ward­ing ca­reer op­por­tu­nity for peo­ple with science de­grees who don’t want to go to med­i­cal school but will end up be­ing the right hand per­son to a doc­tor.

“PAs sup­port doc­tors in the di­ag­no­sis and man­age­ment of pa­tients and are trained to per­form a num­ber of roles, in­clud­ing tak­ing med­i­cal his­to­ries, per­form­ing ex­am­i­na­tions and di­ag­nos­ing and treat­ing ill­nesses.

“They work un­der the su­per­vi­sion of a doc­tor and usu­ally have a science-ori­en­tated first de­gree, to be able to get on to one of the train­ing pro­grammes.”

The Na­tional Physi­cian As­so­ciate Ex­pan­sion Pro­gramme (NPAEP) hopes to have the first PAs in place by the end of this year.

The Trust houses the pro­gramme’s man­age­ment team and over­sees HR and fi­nance func­tions.

It is ex­pected to re­cruit seven PAs at the end of the two year sec­ond­ment.

n UN­DER PRES­SURE: Hilling­don Hos­pi­tal

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