Across the pond, Britain luring U.S. physician assistants to solve its own doctor shortage

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Great Britain is recruiting physician assistants from the U.S. to help with a physician shortage there.

Great Britain is turning to American physician assistants to help solve its own physician shortage, luring them away from the U.S. with incentives including cash and long European vacations.

The United Kingdom is offering the incentives to get PAs to relocate to fill a desperate staff shortage, according to the Daily Mail.

At the same time, more states in the U.S. are giving PAs more autonomy to help relieve the physician shortage that is growing here. The U.S. currently has 115,000 certified PAs who perform medical services and complex procedures in every specialty and clinical setting.


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Britain’s National Health Service wants to recruit up to 3,200 PAs by 2020, primarily from the U.S, and is offering them $1,350 incentives to cover relocation expenses, as well as 41 days of paid vacation per year and free flights home during holidays, the newspaper reported. According to recruitment information, foreign PAs would earn $40,460 per year as a starting salary, half that of a newly qualified doctor in Britain.

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However, senior doctors and patient groups in Britain aren’t convinced and warn it is a slippery slope to rely on staff with less training, according to The Telegraph, which called them “cut-price medics.”

The recruitment materials promise new PAs, called physician associates in Britain, plenty of European travel.

RELATED: New doctor recruiting on the verge of a 'feeding frenzy'

PAs are a growing profession in the U.S., with almost 6,900 new PAs entering the workforce last year. The country is looking to those PAs to help solve the projected physician shortage in the U.S., which already exists in some areas, particularly in rural communities.

A report from the Association of American Medical Colleges released in March showed a projected shortage of between 40,800 and 104,900 doctors by 2030 in the U.S.

And it’s not just PAs that are the target of recruitment efforts.

Amid rising demand for new doctors, 50% of 935 final-year U.S. medical residents in a recent survey said they received 100 or more recruiting offers during their training.

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