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

4th April 2018

Former radiographer Neil Sinclair has joined Darwen Healthcare, working as a physician associate supporting GPs in the practice and helping to improve access to services for patients.

Physician associates can treat patients with minor ailments or conditions as well as carrying out clinics, visit care homes and see patients in their own homes under direct supervision from a GP. It is one of a range of roles being introduced in general practice through the GP forward View, which has committed to training and investment for 1,000 new physician associates nationally by 2021.

Neil 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 to be able to assist in the frailty clinics to help patients who are at risk of falls.

Neil, who has recently completed a two-year training course in addition to his previous medical training in order 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.”

Ann Neville, Practice Business Manager said: “The physician associate role was perfect for our practice. The role will allow our GPs to focus on the more complex patient cases and will give our patients with more routine conditions and queries the opportunity to be seen promptly. Neil will be an asset to our team and our patients.”

Dr Malcolm Ridgway, Senior Responsible Officer for Primary Care for the Lancashire and South Cumbria Sustainability and Transformation Partnership (STP) 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”

Neil is one of 23 newly qualified Physician associates, the remainder of the cohort will hopefully take up positions across the health and care system in Lancashire and South Cumbria. We will be following up with the graduates so see where they are working and the benefits the role brings to patients.

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