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Physician assistant utilisation in the US Armed Forces: applicability to the UK Defence Medical Services
  1. Michael J Rabener1 and
  2. J Breeze2,3
  1. 1 US Army Brooke Army Medical Center, Fort Sam Houston, Texas, USA
  2. 2 Royal Centre for Defence Medicine, Birmingham, UK
  3. 3 Department of Maxillofacial Surgery, Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham, Birmingham, UK
  1. Correspondence to J Breeze, Royal Centre for Defence Medicine, Birmingham B15 2SQ, UK; editor.jramc{at}


Physicians assistants (PAs) are being increasingly utilised by the US Armed Forces both in homeland medical treatment provision as well as while on deployment. In a deployed environment, the USA has the flexibility to interchange doctors with specialty-trained PAs in all roles of care due to their ability to practice autonomously, thereby filling shortfalls created by the lack of specialty physicians. PAs are increasingly being utilised within the UK National Health Service, in similar roles to their US counterparts. This paper postulates that PAs have an equivalent role to play in the future of medical care provision within the UK Defence Medical Services, including on military operations.

  • physician
  • assistant
  • military
  • trauma management

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  • Contributors MR and JB are equally responsible for this manuscript.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent for publication Not required.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.