Practices in Yorkshire are to benefit from a wave of graduates from a new course at a local university.
Sheffield University has been training physician associates, many of whom are taking jobs in practices, helping doctors and other staff by providing care for patients with minor ailments.
The development of the course has been part of a drive to expand the role of physician associates and help relieve pressure on general practice.
Dr Ben Jackson, who is head of teaching primary medical care at the university, said: “These students are trailblazers and have risen to the challenge of a very demanding and intense course in order to fulfil their vocation of helping to improve healthcare in their community.
“We are exceptionally proud of all our students and they have already gone on to secure jobs within hospitals and general practices.
“This new course has given a unique opportunity to hugely talented students who otherwise might not have had the chance to work in healthcare, simply because they didn’t know what their vocation was at 18 or who chose a different route into healthcare.”
Jill Malbon, aged 32, is joining a local practice and had previously earned a biomedical science degree.
She said: “I had been looking for a career in the medical field for a while and this seemed to be the perfect combination of medical knowledge, helping people, building on my degree and in a time frame that seemed doable for me as I have three children.
“There are many problems and conditions that patients have which don’t require a doctor or a nurse in order to treat them – this is where our role as a physician associate comes in. Less complex issues can be seen by a physician associate, who has had an intense period of training, freeing up the doctors to see patients with more complex needs.”