A new breed of NHS employee is helping ease the strain on overstretched nurses and doctors in local hospitals.
Physician Associates (PAs) are being drawn from the ranks of university graduates with Life Science or health profession degrees.
Graduates undergo a further two years accelerated medical training and find themselves working in hospitals filling crucial roles in high demand areas like A&E and surgery freeing up doctors time to focus on the most complex cases.
Rosaline Alpine is one of seven PAS working in Northwick Park Hospital’s A&E department.
She said: “The thought of spending seven years in medical school wasn’t an option but a friend mentioned the role of physician associate and I liked the sound of it.
“It was the hardest two years of my life but well worth it although I felt like a rabbit caught in the headlights during my first day working in A&E.
“A typical ten hour shift will include taking histories, examinations, ordering and interpreting investigations, performing procedures and diagnosing and discharging patients.
“I see patients myself but consultants are on hand offering advice and support when needed. I feel like I am doing something worthwhile and making a difference.”