US-style assistants to combat GP jobs crisis
The Government has given trusts the green light to employ American-style physicians' assistants to ease the GP recruitment crisis.
The go-ahead comes after a nurse-led PMS practice in the West Midlands hired a physician's assistant from Chicago after 18 fruitless months trying to recruit a UK GP.
Physicians' assistants in the USA receive two years' training. They handle routine cases and examinations, but in most states also write prescriptions.
Joanne Davidson, nurse partner at the practice in Tipton, said the assistant, who will be paid a £40,000 salary, 'will see cases between minor illness and more complex cases'. The assistant's prescriptions will have to be signed by a GP.
The Department of Health said trusts could pay for practices to employ the assistants to add to their skill mix.