Medical care practitioners: a necessary import?
- By: Toby Reynolds
To help patients get treated more quickly, Britain's health service wants to hire more workers to take medical histories; do physical examinations; order investigations; and diagnose, manage, and treat illnesses.
Sounds like they want to hire more doctors? Not quite. The planned additions to the workforce will make up an entirely new medical profession, with an idea effectively imported from the United States.
The new role, tentatively titled “medical care practitioner” for the UK, is based on the physician assistants in the US, who operate under the supervision of a doctor but can end up managing care for patients single handedly, particularly in primary care settings.
The move is part of a massive upheaval of who does what in the NHS, which is deeply in debt and short of staff, particularly after the introduction of the European Working Time Directive, which has limited the hours doctors can work. The NHS