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Independents' Day

Roberta Rich-Johnson

  • Physician associate training places to expand by 220% next year

    Roberta Rich-Johnson's comment 25 Feb 2016 4:26pm

    Unfortunately,like Donald Trump over here,the few GPs who have used this commentary space to insult and degrade PAs (and myself personally)rather than actually dialogue, demonstrate their ignorance of so many aspects of what the PA profession is and what we do. There is no need to reinvent the wheel,PAs have been successful over here for 50 years and many studies have shown patients get great care comparable to any family practice provider. Again the difference is the years of experience. And I would argue that a "science" degree is irrelevant to the practice of medicine. Understanding disease (believe it or not) is necessary to appropriate recognition and treatment. And no, I am not a monkey nor a bot. I am one of the original PAs that came over to B'ham in 2005 to help establish that PA program. Please be civil in this forum (it's one of the attractions of living in the UK) Thanks

  • Physician associate training places to expand by 220% next year

    Roberta Rich-Johnson's comment 24 Feb 2016 6:48pm

    Thanks for the commentary Shaba...I actually agree with much of what you have said regarding "running the NHS into the ground" and certainly we would agree on many of the current Tory government schemes! I support more GPs and increased funding for them. However, I feel there is room for many types of providers to work as a team for the benefit of the patient. I also understand your concern for your profession. But the very successful PA profession in the States has not encroached on the sanctity of the doctor...we are "dependent " providers, legally, despite being able to work solo (which I frequently do.)

    FYI, our indemnity costs in the US are even higher than in the UK due to the ease of malpractice lawsuits ( we are famous for this!!). My employer (and I occasionally work locums as well- then the agency covers my malpractice )pays for this ,but I generate far more income for the practice so it compensates for the cost. I am "in demand" by doctors, for a reason. Much of what I do cuts down on the "aggravation" factor suffered by the doctors. Particularly a good triage system. I totally agree that the true competent practice of medicine is learned through actual "hands on" experience and I (even at my advanced age!) learned much from the GPs I worked along side of.
    GPs might have a better go at controlling how PAs are trained and utilized if they bought into the concept and became more active in developing guidelines and protocols. I had to leave my last UK practice just outside of London due to visa issues when I divorced, but they made it clear that my experience and usefulness as a provider was missed and they, in fact, hired 2 new PAs to take over my position when I left. All I am saying, is that some of this "mythology" regarding what PAs are and what they really do needs to be dispelled. The problems between GPs and the NHS has very little to do with's a bit of a "scapegoating" methinks.

  • Physician associate training places to expand by 220% next year

    Roberta Rich-Johnson's comment 24 Feb 2016 5:11pm

    Once again, I have to post a counter attack regarding these understandably concerned GPs. Well, I am an American trained PA, undergraduate BS in Physiology from UC Berkeley and trained at Drexel University Medical College in Philadelphia. I have been practicing as a PA for 34 years and 4 years of that clinical work was in several progressive UK practices, where I was seen as a very valuable team member and given significant responsibility. I have to be revalidated by written exam every 6 (recently changed to 10) years and acquire 100 hours of Continuing Education every 2 years. Look folks,here are bad GPs as well (I have worked with a few) as bad PAs, but this is not a reason to dismiss the concept, out of hand. A concept which may well keep the NHS alive and kicking. I say this with genuine respect and concern because coming from the US system, I greatly admire the NHS model and have fought over here for an overhaul of the US healthcare system for years. And as far as training goes, American Family Practice doctors train for longer (eight years of Uni and then a 3 year residency) than GPs so does that make UK GPs inferior in competency? I think not. One of my Brit colleagues ( a PA trained at St. Georges) had a PHD in Biochemistry from Oxford, but tired of trying to obtain grants for research so she redirected her efforts into clinical medicine and became a PA. I went to a top tier university ;so please stop "dissing" PAs as "inferiorly trained"...this all sounds like the same conversation we PAs had about 30 years ago when the profession first took off in the US. We are not here to replace, but to help. Thanks.