Today is national Physician Associate (PA) Day

We are celebrating the contribution that our PAs make across the Trust.
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Today is national Physician Associate (PA) Day and we are celebrating the contribution that our PAs make across the Trust. 

At WHH we currently employ 16  PAs – nine in A and E, three in care of the elderly, two in surgery and two in paediatrics, with hopefully two more in obstetrics and gynaecology. We also have first and second year students from the Chester PA program training on some of our WHH wards and departments.  

What is a Physician Associate?

Physician Associates are healthcare professionals with a generalist medical education, who work alongside doctors, physicians, GPs, and surgeons providing medical care as an integral part of the multidisciplinary team.

Physician Associates are dependent practitioners working with a dedicated supervisor, but are able to work autonomously with appropriate support.
 

What do Physician Associates do?

Physician Associates work within a defined scope of practice and limits of competence.  They:
•    take medical histories from patients
•    carry out physical examinations
•    see patients with undifferentiated diagnoses
•    see patients with long-term chronic conditions
•    formulate differential diagnoses and management plans
•    perform diagnostic and therapeutic procedures
•    develop and deliver appropriate treatment and management plans
•    request and interpret diagnostic studies (except those involving ionising radiation)
•    provide health promotion and disease prevention advice for patients.

Physician Associates are not able to:
•    prescribe
•    request ionising radiation (e.g. chest x-ray or CT scan)
•    provide care or treatments to patients in an unsupervised setting. 
 

How do Physician Associates fit into the NHS workforce?

Physician Associates' ability to practise medicine is enabled by collaboration and supportive working relationships with their clinical supervisors, meaning that there is always someone who can discuss cases, give advice and attend to patients if necessary.

Physician Associates can be found working in GP surgeries, accident and emergency departments, and inpatient medical and surgical wards throughout the UK.
 

FAQs

Why is Physician Associate not a registered or protected title?

As a new role in the UK, Physician Associates are still seeking statutory regulation, therefore the title ‘Physician Associate’ is currently not a protected title. 

The Faculty of Physician Associates, along with the universities involved in training Physician Associates, continues to work toward registration of the profession in order to protect the title.


Can Physician Associates prescribe in the UK?

Physician Associates are currently unable to prescribe medication in the UK.

Close work with supervising physicians and arrangements developed individually allow for flexible ways of working and continuation and expansion of quality patient care.  For instance, many Physician Associates working in general practice may propose prescriptions (which is no different to non-prescribing nurses) and have the ability to quickly interrupt their supervising physician for a signature and then continue their work.  If further advice on a case is required, the GP and Physician Associate take time out to discuss it and/or see the patient together to come to a decision on further treatment.

Prescribing rights for Physician Associates may change once statutory regulation is introduced.  At that time, decisions will be made regarding Physician Associates prescriptive rights.  As Physician Associates are not yet licensed nor regulated, this limitation also applies to requests for x-rays and other ionising radiation requests.


History of Physician Associate

Although the Physician Associate profession is still considered relatively ‘new’ in the UK, the first Physician Associates were formally introduced in 2003. 

The role of Physician Assistant first developed in the US in the 1960s, and equivalent or similar roles exist in many healthcare systems around the world.


How can Physician Associates help Physicians and the NHS?

Physician Associates increase the numbers of the medical workforce and increase access to quality care for patients.

They act in an enabling role, helping to reduce the healthcare team’s workload, and bring new talent to the NHS, adding to the skill mix within the teams.

While trainee doctors and surgeons rotate through different specialties, Physician Associates offer continuity and stability both for patients and for the team in which they work.  
Physician Associate support also provides cover so that trainee doctors can attend training, clinic or theatre.


What experience do Physician Associates have before training?

All Physician Associates hold at least a bachelor's degree, usually in a life science field (Biomedical Science or a health-related science degree). 

Most Physician Associate programmes require at least a 2:1 honours degree for entry into the postgraduate master’s course along with some prior health or social care experience. 

In addition to their first degree, the prior experience of Physician Associates is diverse ranging from cardiac physiology and psychologists to pharmacists and health educators.


What is the relationship between Physician Associates and their supervisors?

Physician Associates are dependent practitioners working with a dedicated consultant or GP supervisor, but are able to work autonomously with appropriate support.

Supervision of a qualified Physician Associate (PA) is similar to that of a doctor in training or trust grade doctor in that the PA is responsible for their actions and decisions.  However, who is ultimately responsible for the patient is the medical consultant or GP supervisor.

As a clinical supervisor, there is also a responsibility for ongoing development of the PA including appraisal and development of a professional development plan (PDP).

Levels of supervision will vary somewhat from individual to individual and is dependent on a number of factors including, but not limited to, their past health care experience and years of experience as a Physician Associate. A new graduate will require much more intensive supervision compared to an experienced Physician Associate.

 

More information

Happy Physician Associate Day to all our PAs at Warrington Hospital. Thank you for all that you do every day.


Physician Associate profiles

franz.jpgFranz Arnedo

Hello,My name is Franz and I am a 1st Year Physician Associate (PA) Student.  Prior to joining the course, I completed my undergraduate degree in Biomedical Science (2018) and I have since been a volunteer at St. Rocco’s Hospice.

Volunteering at the hospice helped me develop a keen interest in Physician Associates because it is a patient-focused career that allows me to be fully trained in 2 years (postgraduate) so I can start serving patients sooner. 


muhammad.pngMuhammad Abdul Israr

Hello, my name is Muhammad Abdul Israr and I am a 1st year physician associate student.  I wanted to be a PA because the medical field always fascinated me and it helps bring out the best in me. Coming from a health related background, it is the most rewarding field in terms of job satisfaction and patient satisfaction. I originally did biomedical sciences as my undergraduate but felt like I wasn’t being pushed to my full potential. Then I came across this course and how engaging it is. It has been the best career decision I have made financially and mentally because I know my knowledge will change lives as well as being paid for it. 


nighi tanna.jpgNidhi Tanna

I am Nidhi Tanna, 1st year Physician Associate student. I knew I always wanted to work in Healthcare and now I am glad the PA course has opened the gate for me to work in a Multidisciplinary Medical team, which allows me to make a difference in patients' lives. Working here on placementis giving me an immense sense of job satisfaction. 
 


lionel.jpgLionel Kirubakaran

Hello, my name is Lionel and I am currently in my 1st year of MSc Physician Associate studies. My background includes a BSc in Medical & Pharmacological Sciences and experience working within pharmaceutical industries.

My main interest to pursue Physician Associate stemmed from a personal experience involving patient facing roles. This ignited my clinical passion to care for others and make a difference in the healthcare community.
 


Sohail Kareem

Hello,  my name is Sohail Kareem and I'm a first year student of physician associate. Prior to this course I've done BSC in biomedical science.
During my volunteering job in a research department of Royal Infirmary of Manchester was the time I made up my decision to pursue my career in a patient focused setting. I can't wait to qualify as physician associate and contribute to NHS.


MohMohammed abdullah.jpgammed Abdullah

Hello, I’m Amin and I’m a 1st year Physician Associate student. My interest into a medical career began at the tender age of 10 which led to the completion of my undergraduate degree in Biomedical Science. From thereon the PA course (Physician Associate) instantly grabbed my attention altering my course of study into generalised medicine; I hope that some day the product of my aspiration in medicine leads  to the best clinical support in the interest of my patients and the NHS/foundation trust alongside my great colleagues. 

 


pic for whh.jpgBeth Basson

Hello, my name is Beth and I am a first year Physician Associate student form the University of Chester. Previously, I studied BSc Medical Science and Neuroscience and worked on a Care of the Elderly ward at a hospital in Bath. The role of a Physician Associate appealed to me because of the ability to work within the multidisciplinary team as well as receiving a broad, generalist medical training. I think that the job satisfaction from being able to make a difference in patient's lives is what makes this a career that i'm excited to start. 


Asya Ayaz

My name is Asya Ayaz and I am one of the first year Physician Associate (PA) students. I chose PA because I am interested in a patient-focused career where I can be fully trained within a few years so I can start serving patients sooner and making that impact right away. Becoming a PA is very rewarding. It is a way where I can feel the satisfaction of helping someone but in a different way by caring for patients on a level that meets or exceeds the patient’s expectation.