How I, as a Physician Associate, help you as a Doctor

This article is written in response to the campaign against Physician Associates (PAs) by the British Medical Association (BMA).

As a PA my job is to work alongside and support Doctors. I am not a Doctor and I do not want to be a doctor. I work in a hospital and have been a PA for four years working in gastroenterology/hepatology and acute medicine. During this time these are some of the ways in which I have helped and do help Doctors do their work.

1. Improving the learning experience of your rotation

In Gastro-Hep I recognised Doctors were not getting a full and appropriate academic learning experience to run alongside their clinical experience on the rotation. So I created a teaching programme that incorporated all the academic learning they needed which was taught by clinicians who were experts in their field. It was universally acknowledged to be an exemplary specialty academic programme.

2. Helping you get up to speed more quickly on rotation

On the same rotation I noticed there was no induction programme, so I created an induction booklet and programme that meant doctors could hit the ground running as soon as they started their rotations. I was told it was the best induction they had ever had.

3. Knowing this hospital means I help you get your jobs done more quickly

I have worked here for four years, so I know the different departments and the people in them and the referral pathways so when you, as a new doctor, need to get something done I can (more often than not) tell you how to get it done and avoid the pitfalls.

4. I lighten your load

I am supernumerary. If there are four junior Doctors plus me on a ward and you take me away, they are not going to give you another Doctor, you just have 20% more work to do.

5. Teaching you the procedures you need to know

I have taught paracentesis to over 30 IMTs, each one has received personalised, high quality teaching. I am always available to help you with paracentesis, lumbar puncture or US cannula.

The current BMA campaign against PAs is working. I feel fear and upset as a direct result.

As a PA, my job is to support you. Dear Doctor, why do you attack me with misinformation and disparaging remarks and advertising? You are a caring professional. I am not a threat to you. 4,000 PAs are not a threat to the 375,000 doctors in the UK.

The career pathway and management of British Doctors is appalling. The pay rates do not reflect the level of responsibility you have in your job. I want to see these things improved for you. But attacking me, is that really going to make things better for you?