This paper was commissioned by the Scottish Executive Health Department (SEHD). It provides background information on the role of physician assistants (PAs), and on their deployment in the United States and in England. The SEHD is planning to recruit and deploy a small number of US educated PAs in the NHS in Scotland in 2006.\ud \ud The primary focus of the paper is to identify lessons for consideration during planning and implementation of the planned “pilot”. This paper highlights key lessons from\ud the literature, and from key informants, on the employment of PAs.\ud \ud Readers who wish a comprehensive assessment and description of the development of the PA role in the USA, should consult the American Academy of Physician Assistants (AAPA) website (www.aapa.org) and also the core book by Hooker and\ud Cawley (2003).\ud \ud Given constraints of time and resources the focus of the review was on identifying key messages for Scotland; it was not structured as a systematic review (no systematic\ud review of physicians assistants was identified during the search). The review was supported by follow up contact with key individuals and representatives of organisations in the US and with UK organisations working with PAs. The purpose was to identify the issues that need be considered in the lead up to the recruitment and deployment of PAs in the NHS in Scotland.\ud \ud The remainder of the paper is in two sections: Section 2 reports key findings from the literature review; and Section 3 reports of follow up findings, and focuses on key\ud messages for Scotland
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