What is a Physician Associate?
We are fortunate to have, as part of our clinical team, Physician Associates (PAs). You may be offered an appointment with one of our PAs and the following information is intended to explain their role and their skills.
After completing a 3-year biomedical, life science or healthcare related degree, PAs must then pass an intensive 2-year university course at diploma or master's level to acquire the clinical knowledge and skills needed to work as a PA. They train in both the acute sector and primary care to gain a rounded patient centred clinical experience. They are trained to diagnose and treat various medical conditions, order and interpret tests, and provide valuable assistance in managing your healthcare needs.
PAs are always under the supervision of a designated named GP. They work within a defined scope of practice and assist in the coordination of your care, ensuring that you receive seamless and consistent healthcare services.
PAs are qualified to:
- take medical histories from patients.
- carry out physical examinations.
- see patients with long-term chronic conditions.
- perform diagnostic and therapeutic procedures.
- develop and deliver appropriate treatment and management plans.
- request and interpret diagnostic studies.
- provide health promotion and disease prevention advice for patients.
Some PAs, who have undertaken additional training and can perform e.g. cervical smears; respiratory diagnostic tests e.g. spirometry; minor surgery; ear micro suctioning; family planning; cryotherapy; tele-dermatology; smoking cessation and; anticoagulation clinics
Currently, PAs are not able to: prescribe; request chest x-rays or CT scans; issue sicknotes or fit notes.
Although PAs are not currently able to prescribe medications they are, however, trained to propose medications that the supervising GP will have final sign off on ensuring you have access to the necessary treatments to improve your health and well-being.
Regulation & Registration:
The Physician Associate Managed Voluntary Register (PAMVR) is held exclusively by the Faculty of Physician Associates (FPA) under the Royal College of Physicians (RCP), and only Physician Associates who are fully qualified and approved will be on this register. PAs will begin to be regulated by the General Medical Council (GMC) in the summer of 2024.