Physician associates (PAs) are a modern purpose built profession designed to complement and seamlessly integrate with the current medical workforce.
Inspired by the success of the ‘physician assistant’ role in America, PAs are trained to the medical model and come from a variety of science based academic backgrounds - with all PAs requiring 4-5 years of higher education. With appropriate levels of support PAs are able to go about their work autonomously but are dependent on working under a named consultant for the purposes of supervision.
Trained as generalists and despite being a new profession, PAs can already be identified in a vast array of specialties across the UK; from general practice to dermatology to critical care. Over the last 5 years training opportunities for PAs have skyrocketed with there now being 37 universities across the UK offering programmes in physician associate studies. To ensure all universities meet a specific standard of training, all students - on completion of their degree - must pass a standardised national exam consisting of 2 written exams and multiple OSCE stations at the Royal College of Physicians in Liverpool. On passing their degree and both national exams the student can then apply to the Faculty of Physician Associates Managed Voluntary Register.