New doctors' assistant role being pioneered at East Sussex Healthcare Trust

The new role of doctors' assistant is being pioneered at East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust thanks to a £80,000 scheme.

Wednesday, 4th January 2017, 4:30 pm
Updated Thursday, 7th June 2018, 10:35 pm
New Doctors Assistants in green shirts with L-R Monica Green Director of HR, Mrs Scarlett McNally, Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon, Dr Adrian Bull Chief Executive and Barbara Gosden Clinical Education Manager SUS-170401-160708001

Six Doctors’ Assistants have started in this new role which will see them undertake admin work and essential duties alongside doctors.

They will help junior doctors with core tasks to free up their time so they spend less time on admin duties but the assistants will have no duties with medication or independent decision-making.

Several national studies show that doctors in their first four years spend 50 per cent of their time on admin duties. The Trust has been successful in a bid for £80,000 from Health Education England to run a six-month pilot.

Mrs Scarlett McNally, the consultant orthopaedic surgeon who is running the project, said, “This is exactly what the busy doctors on-call need – someone able to do simpler tasks when they are so busy.

“That’s got to be better for patient care. I think this model should be the blueprint for the NHS.”

The six new doctors’ assistants have been recruited from the Trust’s existing healthcare assistants workforce and have experience in working in clinical areas along with additional qualifications and skills. After a two-week induction, they will undergo a weekly learning scheme with a senior doctor as supervisor. Three will work in emergency surgery at Conquest Hospital and three in acute medicine at Eastbourne DGH, working up to 8pm, including weekends and Bank Holidays.