Physician associate: new role within mental health teams
The Journal of Mental Health Training, Education and Practice
Article publication date: 3 June 2014
The purpose of this paper is to outline the role of a new healthcare professional, the physician associate (PA), within the developing National Health Service (NHS), particularly within the specialty of psychiatry.
The authors reviewed the available literature from the UK and the USA on the history and development of PAs, particularly within the UK. The paper focuses on PA training and the role of the PA, specialities in which PAs are employed in the UK and an insight into the role of PAs within psychiatry. This paper also drew upon research and viewpoints of the effectiveness and benefits of employing a PA, along with current misconceptions and limitations of the role.
The initial influx of PAs into the NHS at a time of medical staffing crisis was found to be effective and successful in improving service provision and helping provide continuity of care for patients. Where PAs have been employed they have helped to relieve some of the strain by being a consistent member of the medical team and performing many of the duties of junior doctors. However they are still unable to prescribe and order radiological investigations, but this will come in time as the PA profession push for statutory registration.
This paper is one of the first in the UK that gives an overview of the key roles of the PA within the liaison, forensic and community subspecialties of psychiatry.
Gill, K., Kauser, S., Khattack, K. and Hynes, F. (2014), "Physician associate: new role within mental health teams", The Journal of Mental Health Training, Education and Practice, Vol. 9 No. 2, pp. 79-88. https://doi.org/10.1108/JMHTEP-08-2013-0029
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