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NHS patients to be seen by ‘doctors on the cheap’

‘Patients will increasingly be seen by “physician associates” rather than doctors under Government plans despite fears they are “doctors on the cheap”, according to a report.

Jeremy Hunt, the Health Secretary, said the “new class of medic” – described as being somewhere between a doctor and a nurse – was necessary to free up “busy doctors” to deal with more serious cases.

Physician associates are science graduates with two years of intensive training, rather than the seven years of training given to doctors.

They will examine patients, order tests and assess the results, admit and discharge patients from hospitals, but will not be able to prescribe drugs.’

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