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New physician associates start work at the Cumberland Infirmary

Eniola Bode, Yousef Rezaie, and Rachel Atherton

[P]hysician associates have been a welcome addition to the clinical workforce at the Cumberland Infirmary, Carlisle after successfully completing their training with University of Central Lancashire (UCLan).

The three physician associates, all of whom have relocated from across the country, completed their training through UCLan and chose to work at the Cumberland Infirmary as they were impressed by the facilities and training the hospital has to offer.

All of the physicians are working across surgical services including: Emergency Surgical Assessment Unit and surgical/vascular wards, and are working very closely with the Trust’s consultants and doctors. They already have degrees in healthcare sciences prior to taking up the two-year PGDip course which equip them with a range of medical skills equivalent to those of a newly qualified doctor.

The physician associate is an innovative new health professional role which, while not a doctor, works to the medical model and delivers care and treatment within a hospital setting. The role includes interviewing and examining patients, ordering and interpreting tests and making decisions about patient management.

In May last year, 14 physician associate students began training in west Cumbria at UCLan’s established West Cumberland Medical Education Centre at Westlakes Science Park in Whitehaven. The students undertake their clinical placements just a mile away at West Cumberland Hospital and it is hoped many will stay in the area when they complete their course.

Mr Daya Karat, consultant surgeon at North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust, said: “It is fantastic to welcome new roles into our surgical team. They could have chosen to begin their career anywhere in the country but they chose our Trust because of the excellent work we are doing with surgery, patient care and safety.

“Their enthusiasm is fantastic to see and it’s also great that we’re starting to look at new and exciting ways to encourage more people into a medical professional position.

“The close working relationship we have with UCLan is developing year on year and we want to be recognised as the place to train, learn and build a career in medicine.”

Eniola Bode, physician associate, who moved from Manchester said: “This is a great programme and it’s a really exciting time, to have finished the course and now starting on my career path.

“I’m thoroughly enjoying working for the Trust and learning so much on the wards and from all the other staff around me. The team of surgeons, doctors and nurses are outstanding and everyday it’s something different and challenging.”

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