The Anonymous Widower

Does The NHS Need Physician Associates?

There have been reports about using these in the NHS over the last few days. One article in the Independent is entitled, NHS patients to be seen by doctors on the cheap. It starts with.

Patients will increasingly be seen by “physician associates” rather than doctors under Government plans despite fears they are “doctors on the cheap”, according to a report.

I have seen a lot of doctors and hospitals over the last ten years, what with the death of my wife and son to cancer and my stroke. What is different now, to what I remember of the NHS in the 1960s and 1970s, is that nurses now play a larger role.

Does anybody bother?

Some might, but I’ve never heard anybody complain, that the nurse did a job, that a doctor might have not delegated forty years ago.

So when it comes to physician associates, I have an open mind.

Or I did until I read the letters page of The Times today, where four serious letters from eminent medical professionals were very much supportive of physician associates.

Now I’ve changed my open mind to one that is totally in favour!

August 25, 2014 - Posted by | Health, World | ,


  1. I agree with you, there are many simple jobs which associates could do, it is a year today since my daughters accident, and at one stage she was going to fracture clinic every week. She had a very complicated fracture and was on “consultant care only”. Fracture clinic typically ran 2 hours late, it was a nightmare. As well as the complex fractures which the consultant saw there were lots of simple breaks in limbs etc which could have been handled by an associate physician. Which would have speeded up the clinic a great deal.

    Comment by nosnikrapzil | August 25, 2014 | Reply

  2. When I collapsed a couple of years ago, I was in UCLH in a single room with en suite, whist they tried to sort me out. Between tests it was all very boring.

    This was obviously a problem they’d identified with the single rooms and those like me, who didn’t have much family locally. So they asked if I minded being examined by final year students, so they could practice interview techniques on real patients.

    Effectively, these doctors were probably less trained than an associate might be, but they were getting valuable training without disturbing the time of senior doctors.

    We need more methods that make doctors better trained and give them more time with those who need it.

    Comment by AnonW | August 25, 2014 | Reply

  3. That was a good idea. My dad had a high ileostomy, and whenever he was in hospital he would teach the junior staff, nurses mainly, how to manage the bag and the stoma, and how to encourage the patients to self manage. it gave him a sense of purpose and the staff valuable training.

    Comment by nosnikrapzil | August 25, 2014 | Reply

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