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Developing the Role of the Physician Associate: Speaker News & Updates

This timely one day conference focuses on developing the role of the Physician Associate in your service, how the demonstrated benefits of the role can support you and your service and improve patient care. The conference will also look at developing the role of the Physician Associate in practice and the development of the National Physician Associate Expansion Programme. Through national updates and practical case studies the conference will enable you to understand the role and the benefits and practical implications in practice for deployment in your service. The conference will also discuss the regulation, accountability and supervision of Physicians Associates in practice with case studies from hospital and GP settings. 

Speakers & Presentations

Developing the role of the Physician Associate?

Jeannie Watkins, President, The Faculty of Physician Associates & Physician Associate & Director for Regulation and Legislation, Faculty of Physician Associates at the Royal College of Physicians

  • the Physician Associate role and duties
  • how can the Physician Associate benefit your workforce and improve patient care?
  • accountability of the Physician Associate and regulation
  • supporting the Physician Associate in their roles
  • national developments

Jeannie Watkins’s Full Presentation Click Here

In her presentation Jeannie stated: 

“A Physician Associate is a healthcare professional trained in medicine who works as part of a medical team in Partnership with doctors to provide medical care to patients.”

The main duties of a PA include take medical history, physically examine a patient, diagnose with possible differentials, diagnostic tests/procedures, treatment and management plans, referrals accept and receive  and medications All with physician supervision*

“The accountability and governance of PA’s include personal and professional, Physician Supervisor and employer (ie. A medical line manager, Trust/ GP systems and processes)”

“We have a PA register and you need to make sure your PA is on the register every year”

“Recruitment is key and you need to make sure you get the right person and the fit right”

“You need to make sure you know what a PA is going to do and you need to ensure you retain them – a clear job plan, sufficient time in there job plan (is really important – they need some support and time to train), clear lines of supervision, champions/leads, clear career progression/salary progression and CPD (50 hours pre year that must be maintained)”

“We are waiting till after the election to publish a consultation”

The Future:

“PAs will be an established, recognised and valued part of the medical workforce”

“The public, government, employers and supervisors will be clear about who PAs are and what they do”

“Significant numbers of PA programmes, qualified PAs and those in training”

“We will have achieved Regulation with prescribing and ionising radiation authority to come once we have had the consultation”

“Employers and supervisors will be experienced in employing and supervising Pas”

“PAs will be continuing to deliver service and support the medical workforce in the provision of excellent patient care”

Jeannie Watkins’s Biography:

Jeannie is one of the first UK trained Physician Associates (PA) from the pilot projects, qualifying in 2007. She has worked as a PA in acute medicine and primary care and currently works as Senior Lecturer and Clinical Placement Lead on the MSc in PA Studies at St George’s University of London.

Jeannie has been instrumental in the development of the Physician Associate role in the UK, through nationwide presentations to promote the profession, advisory positions on various national boards and in establishing the PA Managed Voluntary Register. She is President of the Faculty of Physician Associates, lead for regulation of the profession and Chair of the Professional Standards Sub-Committee at the Royal College of Physicians.

Jeannie is also a Director of an independent recruitment and consultancy service specifically relating to Physician Associates.

The presentation is an overview of Physician Associates. It outlines the PA role and duties and the potential impact and benefits of PAs to patient care. Consideration is also given to accountability and governance issues. There is a review and update on national developments with particular reference to the work of the Faculty of Physician Associates based at the Royal College of Physicians.

Developing the role of Physician Associates in Hospitals

Dr Natalie King, Consultant Physician & Physician Associate Tutor, Surrey & Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust & Clinical lead, KSS Physician Associate School

  • a day in the life of a Physician Associate
  • developing the role: utilising Physician Associates in practice
  • how the role fits within the multi-disciplinary team
  • supporting physician associates: the Medical and Clinical Directors role
  • the potential role of Physician Associate

Dr Natalie King’s Full Presentation Click Here

“Surrey and Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust started with PA students and its something that I really recommend. We have 13 Pas appointed across the trust and most of the have been in the post for 2-3 years”

“PAs are not only a clinical support but can also help with organisational and leadership roles like induction of junior doctors, PA/Medical student teaching, morbidity & mortality, audit, leadership projects, departmental meetings, safety leads and culture champions.”

“We have PAs in Geriatrics, Orthogeriatrics, Cardiology, Respiratory, Acute Medicine, Emergency Department and Surgery”

“Choosing a supervisor for a PA is really important; you need to ensure that there is a relationship, almost like friends. To ensure they have a support system.”

“Employing a PA is about strengthening and adding value to clinical teams because they have continuity, consistency and a skill mix”

“A survey this at SASH showed 52% of 67 FY1 to StR have/had worked with a PA, 67% felt the role needs defining at induction and 54% felt PAs were limited by lack of prescribing/requesting x-ray.”

“Gain support from your CD, Medical Director and CEO”

“Have a PA champion – because they are the people that will really value, nurture and develop your PAs”

“To keep PAs keep them motivated and allow development”

“PAs are not a miracle cure for workforce issues. They can be part of a solution of matching skill mix to demand. PA numbers are expanding and role awareness is essential”

Dr Natalie King’s Presentation Abstract:

This session provided the clinician's perspective on employing and supervising Physician Associates in practice and covered why Physician Associates are employed in secondary care and tips on appointing and retaining PAs. In secondary care PAs can see new patients, attend ward rounds and have a core set of clinical and practical skills.  Many PAs are now learning extended skills and whilst unregulated as a profession employers need to ensure good governance behind PAs to ensure that patients and PAs are protected.  The talk described how many of the Trusts PAs are carving out their own career both within and outside the hospital.

Surrey and Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust have developed a team of PAs working across medicine and the talk discussed what these PAs do on a day to day basis, how they are supervised and how they are governed.  The talk also discussed post qualification development of PAs in order to promote retention within Trusts and regions and the function of the Kent Surrey and Sussex School of Physician Associates.

Dr Natalie King’s Biography:

Dr King has worked with Physician Associates since the original pilot of the St George's University PA course and has championed the role of PAs at her Trust and regionally since 2011.  She is the Clinical tutor for 13 PAs working at Surrey and Sussex Healthcare and line manages all 9 PAs working in Medicine.  She was awarded National PA supervisor of the Year in 2015 and is the Physician representative on the Faculty of Physicians at the Royal College of Physicians board.  She is also the Head of School for the Kent, Surrey and Sussex School of Physician Associates helping to support three University programmes, their students and qualified PAs within the region.

Future events of interest:

Hospital at Night Summit: Improving Out of Hours Care in Hospitals
Friday 9 June 2017
De Vere West One Conference Centre, London

Clinical Audit Masterclass
Friday 7 July 2017 
De Vere West One Conference Centre, London

Improving Outpatient Services: National Summit
Friday 15 September 2017 
De Vere West One Conference Centre, London

Effective Clinical Director Training Course
Friday 22 September 2017 
De Vere West One Conference Centre, London

Measuring & Monitoring Clinical Quality
Friday 22 September 2017 
De Vere West One Conference Centre, London

Masterclass: Preventing Burnout in the Health and Social Care Professions
Monday 25 September 2017 
De Vere West One Conference Centre, London

Data Quality and Clinical Coding for Improvement
Monday 2 October 2017 
De Vere West One Conference Centre, London

Complaints Handling, Investigating, Resolving and Learning for Clinicians and Managers in Health and Social Care
Monday 16 October 2017 
De Vere West One Conference Centre, London

Consultant Job Planning
Thursday 19 October 2017 
The Studio Conference Centre, Birmingham

Clinical Audit for Improvement
Thursday 19 October 2017 
The Studio Conference Centre, Birmingham

Managing Doctors in Difficulty and Difficult Doctors
Monday 30 October 2017 
De Vere West One Conference Centre, London


9 June 2017

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