US project to help relieve burden on NHS clinicians
Physician Associates to be introduced in Hillingdon Hospital
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