Lack of support ends physician assistant course

A LACK of political and industry support for the role of physician assistants (PA) in the Australian health workforce has been cited as a key factor in the shelving of the PA training program at the University of Queensland.

The decision to discontinue the course, which accepted its first intake in 2009, followed a recent university evaluation, prompted by difficulties in finding a replacement for the PA program director, who had recently resigned.

Dean and head of the School of Medicine Professor David Wilkinson told MO that while staffing issues had contributed to the university’s decision, an unwelcoming environment to PAs meant there was little reason to continue the course.

“There is an economic reality here that it costs us money to run early phase small programs,” Professor Wilkinson said.

He said until state governments and Health Workforce Australia (HWA) showed they were committed to supporting and using a PA