Doctors Leaders have warned that if the multi-specialist community teams supported by Physician Associates are to improve patient care then the General Practice needs ‘sustained and substantial resources’.
Government will spend £15m in training Physician Associates with the aim of recruiting 1,000 to work in general practice in the next ‘few years’.
In annual course fees, each graduate will cost £9,000 and receive a £6,000 maintenance bursary, which means the scheme will cost more than £15m in total. However, the training scheme does not help graduate Physician Associates into looking for employment in primary care settings or GP practices.
Doctors leaders have warned that many Physician Associates may continue to choose to work in hospitals unless GP Forward View commitments are implemented quickly, including training and education, delivery of resources and organisational development support to practices.
Dr Richard Vautrey, Deputy chair of the British Medical Association General Practitioners Committee said that the allocated funding for the Physician Associates training and education programme will need to be followed by significant further investment in the near future. In order to make a real difference in the patient care, the Government must commit to sustained and substantial resources to allow the creation of multi-specialist teams throughout General Practice.
Physician Associates can deliver valuable care as part of a wider healthcare team in a GP practice, especially at a time when there is a national shortage of GPs and incredible workload pressures on local services, he added.
A spokesperson from Health Education England (HEE) said real appetite for expanding the Physician Associates programme pleases them. Now, there are 28 courses, which illustrated how the work done by HEE with partners, local NHS trusts and primary care providers has helped to stimulate attention in the profession.
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