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Australia Needs Physician Assistants. So Why Aren’t We Getting Them?

But we know that a number of groups are on the record opposing or raising concerns about the introduction of PAs, including the Queensland Nurses Union, the Australian Medical Students Association, the AMA and the 2010 Australasian Junior Medical Officer Forum. No doubt others have been working against PAs behind the scenes. If any of those groups or any other PA sceptics would like to contribute to the Croakey series, please get in touch. It would be good to hear your responses to the pro-PA arguments that have been made. Meanwhile, Professor Peter Brooks, director of the Australian Health Workforce Institute, explains below why he believes that Australia needs PAs. (Incidentally, he is also due to speak at at a University of Sydney seminar on May 3 titled Are we training too many doctors?.) Professional self-interest is blocking introducton of physician assistants Peter Brooks writes: Well done Croakey for running these stories on Physician Assistants (PAs). The opposition to the introduction of these health workers mirrors very much what happened in the US some 40 years ago. Strident cries from the American Medical Association that their introduction would end life as we know it. But interestingly it didnt! Why the nurses are so actively against it is interesting but one would have to ask all opposing groups are they interested in opposing for oppositions sake, are they interested in providing health services to patients who currently find it difficult to access them because the workforce is not there, or are they interested in preserving the status quo with siloed health professional practice? The health service and its constituent parts is a very complex organism but every part of it should work together to improve patient care and not work only in the interests of the health professional or have I got that wrong ?

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General practitioner (family physician) workforce in Australia: comparing geographic data from surveys, a mailing list and medicare

On a related note, the report says: Those who openly declared their opposition to introducing PAs in Australia were likely to advocate for the interests of existing professions, either nursing or medicine. (Croakey wonders if this gives any hint of the reason for the NSW resistance: are the medical and nursing lobbies more influential in NSW?) The report also notes the potential of PAs to reduce health care costs by providing a new workforce group to provide safe and effective services at lower cost. The report, considered by the Australian Health Ministers Advisory Council (AHMAC) in February, has been keenly awaited by PAs and their supporters, including one of the first PAs to graduate in Australia,Ben Stock, who writes below that action is now needed. *** Report represents overwhelming support for PAs Ben Stock writes: In 2011, Health Workforce Australia commissioned a report into the Physician Assistant and their potential role in the Australian health workforce. This report was completed in November 2011 and earlier this year was tabled to the Australian Health Ministers Advisory Council for consideration and it has now just been formally released. This comprehensive report conducted an extensive literature review of supporting documentation regarding Physician Assistants from overseas evidence and considered the impact of the two Australian Physician Assistant trials, which were conducted in Queensland and in South Australia. In addition the report also considered submissions from various key stakeholders such as personnel from the rule and remote health sector, Physician Assistant graduates and students from the Australian PA programs conducted by University of Queensland and other professional bodies representing nurses and doctors. The findings of this report are overwhelmingly supportive of the introduction of the Physician Assistant into the Australian health workforce. A number of concerns were raised by some respondents about introducing a new health professional, such as the competition of training placements for junior doctors and medical students, and potential competition with the existing nurse practitioner role. It is interesting to note that the report could not find any evidence that supported either of these two arguments. One thing the report alludes to is that the acceptance of the Physician Assistant role is based on the level of understanding. The greater the respondent understood the role of the Physician Assistant that more likely it was to be accepted. What does this report mean for Australian Physician Assistants? Firstly, it will stimulate a great deal of discussion, both positive and negative. The report clearly outlines positive impact that the physician assistant will have on the Australian health workforce and the overwhelming support of the rural and remote health sector. To date, most opposition to the Physician Assistant role has been based on a poor understanding of this model of healthcare, which this report confirms. The contents of the report provide a clear and detailed description of the role of Physician Assistant, which should lead to a greater understanding of the position.

see post

Health Workforce Australia report gives the nod to physician assistants

For example, while some studies use data from the Australian census [ 4 , 24 ], others use data from surveys [ 25 ], or state or territory health workforce registries [ 5 , 26 ]. While survey data may provide workload and other hard to obtain information, they may be less complete than registry data. In contrast, data from registries or established mailing lists are likely to be more comprehensive but lack workload information. Recently a number of studies of geographical access have made use of mailing list data [ 6 , 27 ]. While some studies attempt to take GP workload into account [ 6 , 25 ], other studies do not [ 5 ]. A majority of these studies are localized to specific geographic areas making comparisons across datasets difficult. Some researchers have attempted to describe GP data sources [ 28 – 31 ] in Australia. One Australian [ 31 ], and one American study [ 32 ] have attempted to quantify the quality of physician datasets. The American study compared US-AMA data from a single state with records from the state registry and found the US-AMA database to be almost 100% complete. The Australian study used expert local knowledge of all GPs in the Northern Tasmania DGP, to compile a master/authority/baseline list of 139 active GPs. They arrived at this number by starting with a larger list compiled from various datasets and then culled all inaccurate entries. The researchers then attached two quality scores, sensitivity and predictive value positive with each GP dataset. While this is a valid approach to ascertaining the accuracy of a dataset, it also requires names and addresses to be present in multiple databases, a difficult proposition in a restrictive data access environment. Moreover, researchers are often interested in the quality of a dataset insofar as it affects the outcome of their analyses. Aims and objectives Health researchers across jurisdictions are interested in investigating the relationship of GP access and availability to various health outcomes [ 33 , 34 ].

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This entry was posted on December 26, 2013 by .
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