WORKFORCE: Hillingdon Hospitals Foundation Trust will recruit 200 physician associates on behalf of over 40 trusts across the country.

The trust has been asked to manage the recruitment process for the two year initiative by the National Physician Associate Expansion Programme, which was set up to increase the number of physician associates working in the NHS.

It is hoped an increased number of associates will help trusts tackle their workforce shortages and retention difficulties.

Physician associates work under the direct supervision of doctors and are trained to take medical histories, perform examinations, diagnose illnesses, analyse test results and develop management plans.

They are educated to degree level and have two years of postgraduate training. Their education focuses mainly on general medicine rather than specialty care.

It is anticipated that the majority of candidates will come from the US because of the level of experience required.

Over 40 providers have signed up to the programme.

The associates will join multidisciplinary teams, which include junior doctors, consultants, nurses and nurse practitioners.

They will be given an induction and have a mentor each.

Seven of the recruited associates will work at Hillingdon and the rest will be deployed throughout the UK to support hospital doctors and GPs.

The programme has decided to put one trust in charge of the recruitment to act as a central point of contact for applications and to ensure consistent communications with US recruitment companies. This is also seen as a cost effective way to recruit because it prevents duplication across different providers.