Hampshire and Isle of Wight Integrated Care Board (ICB) is looking to recruit more clinicians into a new role following a successful trial.
The role of Physician Associate was created to provide patients with better access to health services in their local GP practice. Over the past year, the ICB has trialled Physician Associates to work directly under the supervision of GPs in pilot schemes at Newport Health Centre and Ventnor Medical Centre.
The Associates are an emerging role in the NHS; they are medically trained and qualified as general healthcare practitioners and can perform duties such as taking medical histories, carrying out physical examinations and initial diagnoses, seeing patients with long-term chronic conditions, developing treatment and management plans, and requesting further diagnostic processes.
By completing these tasks, they free up time for GPs to focus more on patients who have a greater clinical need to see them and benefits patients by allowing them faster access to the medical care they need.
The drive for more Physician Associates is part of a larger expansion plan for primary care practice teams both on the island and nationally to improve access to services and address the increasing demand for healthcare services.
Katie Stebbins from Newport Health Centre is leading the recruitment drive to bring more Physician Associates to the island. She commented: “It puts us at the cutting edge of how primary care is moving forward in this country and I am really proud and excited to be part of that.”
She added “The health system here is really open to new roles. And at Newport Health Centre that enables us to create a truly multi-dimensional team with a wide scope of expertise and specialities and that can only be good for patient care.”
Dr Michele Legg, GP and Clinical Director of the ICB, praised the hard work of primary care teams across the island and the multi-disciplinary ways of working, which means that patients can be seen sooner and receive the specialist expertise they require, “which can achieve better outcomes.”