GP practice one of the first in Lancashire to appoint physician associate

CREDIT: This story was first seen in the Lancashire Telegraph

A health practice has become one of the first in Lancashire to appoint a new staff role designed to take the pressure off GPs, the Lancashire Telegraph reports.

Former radiographer Neil Sinclair has joined Darwen Healthcare where he will work as a physician associate.

Physician associates can treat patients with minor ailments or conditions as well as carrying out clinics.

His role will see him support GPs in the practice and help to improve access to services for patients.

They also visit care homes and see patients in their own homes under direct supervision from a GP.

Mr Sinclair, who completed a two-year training course in addition to his previous medical training to become a physician associate, said: “I wanted to learn how to aid patients from presentation through to treatment and provide high-quality patient care. The role of physician associate allows me to support doctors in providing care for patients and benefit doctors currently working in heavily pressurised circumstances.

“Physician associates have been described as the glue of a multi-disciplinary team and I’m very much looking forward to starting in post and helping patients and my GP and practice colleagues.”

Mr Sinclair will hold two patient clinics each day and also complete home visits using a tablet that links with a GP back in the practice so that video consultations can be held with patients with their consent.

The practice also hopes to use his expertise in the frailty clinics to help patients who are at risk of falls.

Dr Malcolm Ridgway, senior responsible officer for primary care for the Lancashire and South Cumbria Sustainability and Transformation Partnership said: “Physician associates, along with advanced nurse practitioners and clinical pharmacists, will support GPs in being able to manage more patients, with ever more complex conditions, in the community.

“This is a welcome development which I am sure will pay great dividends to the patients and clinical team at Darwen Healthcare.”

Dr Paul Fourie, of Witton Medical Centre, Blackburn, said: “I’d welcome this as it will help to reduce demand and spread the workload.

“It will also improve access for patients.”

The physician associate is one of several roles being introduced in general practice. Around 1,000 will be in place nationally by 2021.

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