What Can PAs Do in Primary Care?

Dependent on experience PAs should eventually have 10 minute appointments, but they may also need time to get signatures for medications or imaging.

It is recommended that a newly qualified PA is given 30 minute appointments and this reduced every three months, with negotiation and based on a PAs comfort and experience. How the individual surgery deals with signing medication/imaging will affect times. 

PAs should be able to discuss patients with any GP, but if a surgery runs a duty doctor system, that person should ideally be the supervisor for the session.

Some PAs run the minor surgery weekly clinic, but only if the one GP with up-to-date skills is in the building. The clinic cannot run if the appropriate doctor is not in the building.

What’s the Difference Between a PA and an ANP?

This is a question that offer comes up. The answer is as follows:

1) A PA has a biomedical science background, and is trained in the medical model specifically for the position in medicine. The PA is not an extended practitioner.

2) They do not work to set protocols, and can see a wide variety of undifferentiated patients.

3) An ANP has trained in nursing. They have usually spent many years in healthcare learning the skills for the job, completing courses to advance their knowledge. They tend to work in a specialist area and have a mixed skill set.

4) ANPs tend to be able to prescribe.

5) PAs have the requisite knowledge and skill to prescribe, although lack of statutory regulation currently renders them unable to do so. There are enough patients in the system to enable all professional groups to work in a complementary way to deliver high-quality patient care