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Developing the Role of the Physician Associate

Dr Natalie KingDr Natalie King

News and presentations from today's conference chaired by Dr Neil Jenkins Executive Director, The National Physician Associate Expansion Programme. Focusing on developing the role of the Physician Associate in practice, how the demonstrated benefits of the role can support you and your service and improve patient care. 

Clinical Supervision: The Physician’s Perspective
Dr Natalie King
Consultant Physician & Physician Associate Tutor, Surrey & Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust and Clinical Lead for Physician Associate Programme

Pre-event Abstract:
This session will provide the clinician's perspective on employing and supervising Physician Associates in practice and will cover why Physician Associates are employed in secondary care and tips on appointing and retaining PAs.  Physician Associates are appointed for varying reasons dependent on the employer.  Often this is due to the need to build a continuous workforce but also to cope with changes to the medical workforce as a result of rota changes or reducing numbers of doctors in training.  Whilst PAs can be helpful in many clinical areas as permanent members of staff who can be developed over time, they are not a solution for all and it is important to consider if PAs meet the requirements for your individual service.  In secondary care PAs can see new patients, attend ward rounds and have a core set of clinical and practical skills.  Many PAs are now learning extended skills and whilst unregulated as a profession employers need to ensure good governance behind PAs to ensure that patients and PAs are protected.   
Surrey and Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust have developed a team of PAs working across medicine and the talk will discuss what these PAs do on a day to day basis, how they are supervised and how they are governed.  The talk will also discuss post qualification development of PAs in order to promote retention within Trusts and regions and the function f the newly formed Kent Surrey and Sussex School of Physician Associates.

Dr King made the following comments;
"a Physician Associate is not an admin assistant, their skill set is so much more. If you employ them just for that they will leave, you need to allow PA development"
"a PAs ethos is working in a team"
"do not consider PAs as replacements for doctors"
"it's very important to choose the right supervisor for the PA"
"a PA requires more support and supervision if coming into secondary care from primary care"
"there is no evidence that PAs increase ward round times"
"contact the faculty for a wide example of job plans for PAs"
"dedicated teaching is mandatory"
"need lots of positive PR work when introducing PAs, make sure junior doctors and nurse practitioners don't feel threatened"

Full presentation

The Physician Associate Expansion Programme
Dr Nick Jenkins
Deputy Medical Director, Warrington and Halton Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Associate Senior Lecturer, Brunel University, London, Clinical Fellow, National Leadership Academy, and Director of National Physician Associate Programme

Dr Jenkins made the following comments;
"we found that locums cost money and were not really doing the business"
"in my old department 80% of critical incidents involved temporary staff"
"average emergency department spend £600k a year on locums, we can afford a PA programme"
"PAs are not a miracle cure but they can address a whole heap of problems in emergency medicine and challenges facing every acute trust"
"last week we started the on boarding of 30 US PASs"
"in the North West of England we are about to have an explosion of PAs"
"PAs offer us the chance to diversify and strengthen our teams"
"if we are going to have PAs we need to make sure we do it right"

Full presentation

Developing the role of the Physician Associate in Primary Care
Karen Roberts
Physician Associate Director for Recertification, Faculty of Physician Associates, The Royal College of Physicians, and Chair, UK PA National Examination

Karen commented;
"being a PA is a different job to being a Dr, we learn a breadth of medicine but not the entire breadth"
"a new graduate PA requires regular review, it's very important to establish trust"
"I can become very autonomous but I am not a Dr"
"PAs are dependent clinicians with autonomy"
"our limitations are a lack of legislation not a lack of education"
"we wait to find out our regulator, hopefully will be the GMC but we don't know yet"
Full presentation


Also of interest:

A Practical Guide to Managing Doctors in Difficulty & Difficult Doctors
Tuesday 13 September 2016 
ICO Conference Centre, London

Consultant Job Planning
Tuesday 4 October 2016 
Hallam Conference Centre, London

Clinical Audit for Improvement
Wednesday 5 October 2016 
The Studio Conference Centre, Birmingham

UK Physician Health Summit 2016
Monday 10 October 2016 
De Vere Hotel West One, London


6 June 2016


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