AccessMyLibrary provides FREE access to millions of articles from top publications available through your library.
What will the UK version of the physician assistant bring to the NHS, asks Suzy Bashford.
In the UK, the emerging role of the 'physician assistant' (PA) is shrouded in confusion. But in the US, where the role originated, the position is established and widely understood. It is defined as a 'health professional licensed to practise medicine with the supervision of a physician' and according to the American Physician Assistant History Center, can be traced back to 1650 when German military assistants were introduced to Russian armies by Peter the Great.
The role was formalised in the wake of the Vietnam war, when many army officers returned home with specialist clinical skills acquired in the field. To make use of their skills, these medics received intensive training and adopted recognised professional roles in the health service. Today, in some small US towns, practices are run solely by PAs who contact doctors by telephone if they need more guidance.
Tipton Care Organisation, a first-wave seven practice PMS organisation in the West Midlands, plus the neighbouring Great Bridge Partnership for Health, were the first UK organisations to employ US PAs, following a fact-finding mission to the US.
There are now around 25 US PAs working in England and this number is set to increase. Tipton currently employs 11 PAs, paid pounds 40,000 per annum, and US PAs are also working in Birmingham, Bedfordshire …