The Health Secretary has committed £15 million into training 1000 new physicians associates by 2020.
Physicians Associates are set to start working alongside GPs in general practice with the aim of improving access to primary care services and reducing strains on emergency care.
Applicants will each receive £9,000 in annual course fees and £6,000 as a maintenance bursary working out as over £31,000 per physician associate. The funded role comes as a blow to Nurses after the decision to remove course funding and bursary payments from Nursing students.
Although every physicians associate course offers placement with GPs currently there is no contractual obligation to work in general practice, or even the NHS, after graduating.
A spokesperson said Health Education England said ‘We are pleased there is a real appetite for expanding the PA programme, there are 28 courses now compared to two four years ago. This illustrates how the work HEE has done with partners, local NHS trusts and primary care providers has helped to stimulate interest in the profession.’
The physician associate role is relatively new in the UK. Applicants will need a science based degree, or have worked as a registered healthcare professional, to apply for the role. Currently they no formal regulatory body or prescribing powers, however the Government is considering both of these.
Labour calls for £500m emergency ‘winter bailout fund’ for NHS
Labour will call for the government to commit a £500m “winter bailout fund” for the NHS over the coming months.
Jonathan Ashworth, the Shadow Health Secretary, says the money is needed to increase capacity in struggling hospitals and pay for extra staff as the NHS faces the worst winter on record.
He also said it was Labour’s “ambition” to return NHS funding increases to the same level as during the 1997-2010 Labour governments.
Mr Ashworth claims that Jeremy Hunt, the Health Secretary, and Theresa May have failed to provide an adequate plan to how the NHS is preparing, for what is expected to be, the worst winter on record for the health and social care service.
Janet Davies, Chief Executive and General Secretary of the RCN, said:
“Any bailout money this winter should be used to bolster frontline staff and help ensure safe patient care. Having the right number of nurses is key to treating people effectively and safely.
“Yet too many hospitals are chronically short of nursing staff. As demand increases over the winter months, it’s patients who will pay the price unless something is done.
“Properly funding the NHS is a political choice – it should not reach the stage where a last-minute bailout is required to keep people safe.”
The Shadow Health Secretary will use a speech to the Labour party conference today to call for the extra funding.
£13 million funding to help hospital A&Es prepare for winter
The Department of Health has announced 19 hospitals in England will benefit from extra funding for emergency care over winter.
Following a plea for funding from NHS Providers, the association that represents healthcare trusts, the Department of Health (DoH) has announced it will provide additional funding to nineteen NHS hospitals in England.
The 19 hospitals across England will be given a cash injection of over £13 million for emergency care, in the latest wave of winter funding announced today by Health Minister Philip Dunne.
Around £13 million has been awarded to improve patient flow through A&E, ensuring departments are prepared for busy times during winter. The additional funding brings the total given to hospitals since April to over £90 million, part of the dedicated funding announced in the Spring Budget.
Minister of State for Health Philip Dunne said:
“Thanks to the hard work and dedication of staff, the NHS has put in place strong plans ahead of winter – ensuring patients continue to receive safe and efficient care as demand rises over the coming months.
This funding will give more hospitals the boost they need to streamline patient flow in A&E, freeing up A&Es to care for the sickest patients and helping make sure all patients get the right treatment in the right place as quickly as possible”.
The funding will be used to help hospitals finalise preparations ahead of winter, particularly to handle the large volumes of patients attending A&E. By investing in the necessary equipment or infrastructure, hospitals will be able to target improvements to patient flow and relieve pressure on A&E.
The funding supports NHS England’s wider plans to improve A&E performance in England by 2018. In particular, it will help hospitals hit the target of admitting, transferring or discharging 95% of patients within 4 hours.
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