Doctors across Scotland are expressing “serious concerns” about patient safety amid the use of certain health workers in the NHS.

Some 80% of doctors believe the way physician associates (PAs) and anaesthesia associates (AAs) work puts those accessing health services at risk, according to a BMA survey.

PAs are health workers who support doctors while AAs work within anaesthetic teams.

PAs can work in GP practices and hospitals and can ask about symptoms, carry out physical examinations and even diagnose illnesses.

But they are meant to work under the supervision of a medically qualified professional.

Typically a PA has a science degree and two years of training at a master’s level.

The BMA Scotland survey of 1,700 doctors found more than four in five (82%) feel their patients do not understand the difference between PAs and the role of doctors.

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