Physician Associate

Working in general practice, physician associates (PAs) see patients from birth to end of life. They support and work under the supervision of a GP alongside other professionals within the practice and the wider support staff team. The PA is responsible for their actions, but the GP is ultimately responsible for the patient.

A physician associate will likely take patient medical histories, perform physical examinations, and diagnose illnesses. Whilst physician associates do not currently prescribe, they have the skills and knowledge to prepare prescriptions for GPs to sign.

They provide additional support within the generalist part of healthcare, which increases stability and lowers pressure for the primary care team.

The main duties include;
  • Diagnosing illnesses
  • Treating patients
  • Creating health plans and making onward referrals
Physician associates are people who;
  • Possess great communication and a caring attitude
  • Have excellent critical thinking skills
  • Retain a wide range and depth of knowledge
  • Work collaboratively with a team to provide the best care possible

Physician Associate Training:

Physician associate training is usually at masters level, and lasts two years. It focuses on adult and paediatric medicine, mental health, and surgical specialities across hospital and general practice settings.

Time training is spent on each of the following:

  • Community medicine
  • Front door (including experience in emergency medicine)
  • Mental health
  • General surgery
  • Obstetrics and gynaecology
  • Paediatrics

To find out the latest regulations, CPD requirements and recertification information please see the Faculty of Physician Associates (FPA) website.

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