Royal College of Physicians (RCP) president Professor Jane Dacre and Jeannie Watkins, president of the Faculty of Physician Associates (FPA), comment on the Daily Mail 's 'Cut price doctor will see you now', which claims that physician associates are 'cut-price doctors'.
Discussing the article, Professor Dacre said:
Some of the strongest advocates for physician associates are the doctors and healthcare professionals that have worked alongside them. They are a valued member of the team that provide much needed generalist skills and expertise.
The Royal College of Physicians is fully in support of physician associates and in turn are grateful for the support they provide doctors in an understaffed, underfunded and overstretched NHS.
Also commenting on the piece, Jeannie Watkins said:
The role of the physician associate does not replace doctors, so this is not about ‘doctors on the cheap’. Physician associates increase the capacity of the team, and adds much needed generalist skills to the NHS.
Physician associates are able to increase access to services for patients, as well as support doctors and the wider team to deliver the best possible care to those in need. We would like to reassure Patient Concern and other groups that we have been working in close collaboration with the Patient and Carer Network at the Royal College of Physicians to inform our work and keep patients at the heart of everything we do.
The role of the physician associate was introduced into the NHS 10 years ago, and has been growing and developing since. The role of a physician associate requires a 3 year undergraduate degree in biomedical or health related sciences then 2 years intensive medical training to enable a physician associate to practice medicine.
Physician associates are a welcome addition to the NHS: supporting doctors and delivering high quality care for patients. The contribution of an extra 3,000 medically trained healthcare professionals by 2020 will provide a positive and much needed boost to the healthcare system.