* Lives lost due to error in PA diagnosis *
The long-term plan for the NHS in England is to turn it into an American based healthcare system. One of the ways of doing this has been imported from thee US - non-doctors called Physician Associates whose role is to 'assist' doctors, despite their misleading title of 'Associate'.
They have NO MEDICAL training, but only 2 years training on assisting doctors.
However, they are being used to fill in the gaps in GPs in many GP practices: and without Patient's being told.
This comment from a person who has done the Physician Associates training has summed up the training and the role perfectly:
"It's an Alternative Route into Medicine.
If you’re interested in all things anatomy and physiology but don’t think that being a doctor is the right fit for you, PA studies is a great alternative way to get into medicine.
But the more that is being found out about the NHS's use of this role of PA, which should mean 'personal assistant' because that is all Physician Associates actually are supposed to be, the more the public sees how the American Healthcare system use of them to replace doctors and subsuming the doctor's role; is being used in our NHS!
As NHS Matters reported recently, Patients are being asked to see Physician Associates without knowing that they aren’t doctors and aren’t medically qualified or regulated. At least in one instance, this has been followed by the death of a patient who wrongly believed they were being treated by a GP.
According to the Doctors Association UK,
“General practice is a very demanding specialty, seeing a new undifferentiated problem every 10-15 minutes. Most are benign, but some are life threatening and separating these cases out, using clinical acumen, is a key skill for working in GP. It is our view that it is not safe for the UK government to utilise any alternative healthcare provider as replacements for fully trained doctors. There is a role for allied professionals within healthcare but not at the expense of medical expertise.”
NHS Matters is a pressure group fighting the Americanisation and privatisation of the NHS, and has today issued the following press release highlighting the dangers that the use of PAs is having on patient care:
There are currently 131 whole time equivalent Physician Associates working in NHS Trusts in West Yorkshire (Sept 23, ESR); of these, 48.46 are employed by Leeds Teaching Hospitals Trust, according to a Freedom of Information response from West Yorkshire Integrated Care Board.
Physician Associates are non-medically, 2 year trained postgraduates. The role has been introduced into the NHS from the USA over the last decade, in an apparent effort to cut NHS costs and quickly shore up the dwindling numbers of doctors as burn out drives them out of the NHS.
Thanks to January 2024 Freedom of Information requests from Southport Hospital junior doctor Eilidh Garrett @DrEilidhMaria and Nottingham Trent University paramedic lecturer Chris Pritchard @chriscpritchard, it turns out that Leeds Teaching Hospital has ‘allowed’ their physician associates to make 1168 requests for ionising radiation, such as CT scans and X rays. [and exposing them to ionising radiation] But it is illegal for the 2 year-trained Physician Associates to do this.
Responding to the duo’s request for copies of risk registers or any similar documents where the risk of Physician Associates requesting ionising radiation was included, Leeds Teaching Hospital stated,
The FOI response then addressed the question of the number of incident reports relating to PAs requesting ionising radiation, with the answer:
The trust’s risk management committee in December said an investigation into the illegal ordering of these tests was being undertaken and said the actions have now been reported the to the Care Quality Commission (CQC).
Dr Eilidh Garrett tweeted,
Source: NHS Matters / Daily Mail / BBC News / The TelegraphNHS Matters material reproduced under Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial Sharealike 3.0 licence