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Physicians assistants are best described as halfway between a doctor and a nurse. The Queensland Government brought in five from the United States last year as part of a 12 month trial. They worked in Queensland in Cooktown, Mount Isa and Brisbane to see if patient care improved. A report into the trial says there was some positive feedback from doctors and nurses, but “infrastructure, staffing and financial limitations” restricted the physicians assistants in some cases. The report says it was clear that clinical staff “felt more evidence is needed” before the position is rolled out. The AMAQ says the trial wrapped up months ago and Queensland Health still had not confirmed if the positions will be rolled out across the state. AMAQ president-elect Dr Richard Kidd says the Queensland Government should abandon the idea of physicians assistants, because it takes training places and jobs from junior doctors and nurses. “Why on Earth start looking at another part of the workforce that they’re not going to employ properly either?” he said. He says there is no room for physicians assistants in a health system already crowded with medical graduates. “The need for physicians assistants – if there ever was truly a need – is going to be eclipsed by the number of young doctors that are going to be out there,” he said. “Why have a physicians assistant when you’re actually producing enough physicians?” Dr Kidd says doctor assistants are not covered under the new national registration system. The AMAQ also says the report into the trial should be made public. Plan ‘on hold’ But Health Minister Paul Lucas has rejected the trial was a waste of time and money and it was a worthwhile exercise. “The evaluation noted that physicians assistants have performed an important role,” he said.