They assist physicians in the care of patients but themselves await recognition. Physician Assistants (PAs) are an unhappy lot and have been urging the government to set up a council for them and bring in uniformity in their curriculum.
A PA is a healthcare professional with academic and clinical training in providing healthcare services under the supervision of a specialist. Their work profile includes taking medical histories, examining patients and diagnosis, ordering or carrying out therapy under supervision of a specialist in the emergency unit and assisting in pacemaker implantation among others tasks.
G. Anitha, who works as a PA in the Cardiac Electrophysiology department of Madras Medical Mission (MMM), said “We want the government to consider posting PAs in government hospitals. We also seek a uniform syllabus,” she said. PAs are also keen that a council on the lines of Medical Council of India and Indian Nursing Council be set up for them.
“Their curriculum and job profile should be standardised. They also need an accreditation body,” said Philomena Mariados, Dean, MMC College of Health Sciences.
The MMM Academy of Medical Sciences offers a 4-year B.S. course in PA in collaboration with BITS-Pilani and MMM College of Health Sciences offers 3-year B.Sc. course under Tamil Nadu Dr. MGR Medical University.
At the 10 annual conference of the Indian Association of Physician Assistants on Thursday, Health Secretary J. Radhakrishnan said their issues would be taken forward in a systematic way.