The press have termed them fake doctors. Their correct titles are Physician Associates and Anaesthesia Associates (PAs and AAs). And as the public gradually becomes aware of the scale and gravity of the situation, now would be a good time to ask your Parliamentary candidate where they stand on the issue.

Poor old Rishi didn’t have a clue. You can see from the look on his face, when he was heckled by an angry GP , that he hadn’t been  briefed on this one – when he was challenged with “You cannot employ lesser qualified people instead of GPs…the country is not stupid” his feeble reply was that his dad had been a GP, so he knows a few things about medicine.

Now, hopefully, the electoral candidates will be a bit more clued up. They will know about the way central funds are being diverted away from doctors and towards Associates. They will know that GP surgeries are giving PA’s autonomous practice, mocking the idea that they always work under supervision. And they will know that the General Medical Council, the body charged with protecting the public from unregistered practitioners, is merely wringing its hands in dismay as the government’s money does the talking.

Replacing doctors with Associates is government policy. But we’re due to have a new government very soon, and the future MPs need your vote. So where do they stand on this issue?

You can ask them. On social media. On phone-ins, TV shows and by letter. And when they knock on your door. The two big parties have nailed their flags to the mast, and will have to justify themselves to the voters. The others are sitting on the fence; strange really as the Associate programme is unlikely to be popular with the electorate.

Ask them. They want your vote.