Trust searches the world for medics

PUBLISHED: 06:33 22 June 2006 | UPDATED: 09:28 24 May 2010

HEALTH chiefs have been forced to scour America for medics to help fill a shortage of GPs in Weston. North Somerset Primary Care Trust (PCT) has recruited five physician assistants from as far afield as New York and Alaska to take the strain off over-work

HEALTH chiefs have been forced to scour America for medics to help fill a shortage of GPs in Weston.North Somerset Primary Care Trust (PCT) has recruited five physician assistants from as far afield as New York and Alaska to take the strain off over-worked doctors in the town.The quintet of physician assistants (PA) will be crossing the Atlantic to give a shot in the arm to five GP practices in the town over the next two years.Patients from practices in Milton Road, the medical centre in The Campus in Locking Castle and Tudor Lodge in Nithsdale Road should be getting treatment from the physicians by the end of the summer. The Cedars Surgery in New Bristol Road and the Graham Road practice will also benefit from the initiative.Patients in these practices can expect the doctors' helpers to carry out examinations, diagnose illnesses and perform routine treatments such as stitching.The PCT has taken the radical step because there are not enough GPs in North Somerset and said the scheme, which will cost £500,000, is value for money.The role of physician assistant is common in the United States but has been pioneered in North Somerset in England. A number of PAs have been working at the A&E Department at Weston General Hospital since September 2004.

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