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Only 11 physician associates are working in GP practices



There were only 11 full-time-equivalent physician associates working in English GP practices in September 2015, official data have shown.

Data published today by the Health and Social Care Information Centre further show there were only 168 FTE pharmacists and 19 physiotherapists working across practices.

Pulse reported in January that only only six physician associates were recruited to the UK from the US despite generous £50,000 salary offers.

It comes as the Government is focusing heavily on a strategy to reduce workload by growing the number of clinical support staff in general practice.

Last week, NHS England published a plan to train 1,000 more physician associates to work in GP practices by 2020.

The General Practice Forward View also promises that every practice in England will get access to a clinical pharmacist.

In all, the Government has said there will be 5,000 more clinical support staff working in practices by the end of this Parliament but today’s data release showed there was an estimated 1.9% drop in direct clinical care staff in GP practices in England between 2014 and 2015.

The workforce figures also showed that the number of FTE GPs dropped by an estimated 2% last year, in a blow to the Government’s aim to have 5,000 more GPs by 2020.