Taranaki GP practice network embracing physician associates

31 January 2024

Not every health problem needs a doctor to deal with it.

That is the diagnosis of Taranaki GP Nick Loveridge-Easther, whose practice network is one of those embracing a new multi-disciplinary way of working, including employing two overseas-trained physician associates.

Part of the health workforce in the United States since the 1960s, physician associates - or PAs - work under the supervision of a doctor, but see patients independently.

"I think there's always a bit of hesitancy with anything new, but we've only had great feedback about our PAs," Loveridge-Easther said.

"They [patients] have to get used to the fact that they can see an appropriate provider for an appropriate condition in an appropriate time, if we take all these other workforces on board."

Together with nurse practitioners, extended care paramedics, pharmacist prescribers and other health workers, physician associates had huge potential to increase New Zealanders' access to timely, quality healthcare, he said.

Read more on the RNZ website.