Parents of actress, 30, who died after her blood clot symptoms were dismissed as ‘anxiety’ say spread of ‘associate doctors’ will lead to more tragedies
- Emily Chesterton, 30, was seen by a physician associate on October 31, 2022
The parents of a young actress who died after her blood clot symptoms were dismissed as ‘anxiety’ have said the spread of ‘associate doctors’ will spark more tragedies in the future.
Emily Chesterton, 30, was seen by a physician associate (PA) at her appointment at the Vale Practice surgery in north London on October 31, 2022.
Her symptoms included calf pain, a swollen and hot leg, shortness of breath and she was finding it increasingly difficult to walk.
Emily, who was from Greater Manchester but had moved to London to pursue a career in acting, believed she had been seen by a GP – but instead a physician associate prescribed her propranolol medication for anxiety.
She collapsed later that evening and was rushed to hospital. However her heart had stopped beating and doctors could not save her life.
Emily Chesterton (pictured), 30, died after her blood clot symptoms were dismissed as ‘anxiety’
A coroner concluded her life could have been saved if she had been to A&E and given a pulmonary embolism.
Emily’s parents, Brendan and Marion Chesterton, who are 64 and retired teachers, have called for greater clarity on whether patients are seen by a GP or physician associate.
Mrs Chesterton, who described her daughter as a ‘beautiful soul’, told The Times that the family wanted ‘to protect other families’, stating: ‘We want this never to happen to any more Emilys.’
Mr Chesterton said: ‘We are concerned that patients are seeing physician associates and not realising that they are not doctors, like Emily.’
The role of physician associates is to support doctors in the diagnosis and management of patients.
They have been brought in as an attempt to tackle staff shortages in the NHS as part of the NHS Long Term Workforce Plan.
On the NHS careers website to describe the role, it states ‘you’ll work under the supervision of a doctor’.
The PA who saw Emily in October last year had not properly introduced herself and her role, leading Emily to believe she had received informed advice from a GP.
Actress Emily (pictured with her castmates) believed she had been seen by a GP – but in fact had discussed her symptoms with a physician associate
The PA’s contract has since been terminated and the practice no longer employs PAs.
The coroner said Emily ‘should have been immediately referred to a hospital emergency unit.’
They continued: ‘If she had been on either occasion, the likelihood is she would have been treated for pulmonary embolism and would have survived.’
An NHS spokesman told The Times: ‘Patient safety lies at the heart of the NHS Long Term Workforce Plan and physician associates are a vitally important part of our staffing mix.’
MailOnline has contacted NHS England for comment.
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