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Developing the Role of the Physician Associate

Chaired by Dr Nick Jenkins Executive Medical Director West Suffolk Hospital Clinical Fellow National Leadership Academy & Director National Physician Associate Expansion Programme this one day conference focused 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.

Developing the role of the Physician Associate?

Alex Reynolds Vascular Surgery Physician Associate St Georges Healthcare NHS Trust Lecturer University of Reading

  • 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

In his presentation Alex commented; 

PA’s bring a whole different skill set to a specialty – this can help doctors with decision making

PA’s are permanent members of the team.  This means that they can provide continuity of care for patients and departments

The more you invest in PA’s the more they will be able to provide

PA’s can provide more time to the patient – this can help to build rapport, provide explanations and alleviate concern

PA’s have ongoing CPD requirements

All PA’s should have an MDI number – this is like a nationally recognised safety benchmark

Pre conference abstract

The Physician Associate role is becoming an integral role within the UK healthcare system. Many hospital trusts and primary care providers are interested in this newly developed healthcare professional, but can be unsure how to proceed.  Employing a Physician Associate is the easy part, but utilising the skills they bring to its maximum effect can be quite challenging.  In this short presentation, I hope to answer some of your questions and provide you with the knowledge about how to best develop a new Physician Associate role in your workplace.

Full powerpoint presentation


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 King commented; 
PA’s strengthen and add value to clinical teams

PA’s have a huge skills mix

On average, from planning, it takes 18 months to recruit a PA

Always check that PA’s are qualified before recruiting – check all PA’s are on the NVA and check this every year!

You must have a rigorous governance process

The value of a PA is realized over time – time and effort needs to be invested in them

Think creatively about what PA’s can do for your service and patients

PA#’s can be part of a solution of matching skills mix to demand

PA numbers are expanding and role awareness is essential

Pre conference abstract:

This session will provide the clinician's perspective on employing and supervising Physician Associates in practice and will cover why Physician Associates are employed in secondary care and tips on appointing and retaining PAs.  Physician Associates are appointed for varying reasons dependent on the employer.  Whilst PAs can be helpful in many clinical areas as permanent members of staff who can be developed over time, they are not a solution for all and it is important to consider if PAs meet the requirements for your individual service.  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.   

Surrey and Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust have developed a team of PAs working across medicine and other divisions and the talk will discuss how PAs develop in practice over a period of time and career progression and the function of the Kent Surrey and Sussex School of Physician Associates.

Full powerpoint presentation


Educational and Clinical Supervision: the Physician’s Perspective

Dr Sankara Raman Consultant Gastroenterologist, Lead Clinician Gastroenterology, Director of Medical Education With Teresa Dowsing Acute Elderly Care Practitioner George Eliot Hospital NHS Trust

  • the physician’s role: working in partnership with Physician Associates
  • maximising educational opportunities for Physicians Associates
  • challenges and successes in educational and clinical supervision
  • moving forward - faculty development and peer support our experience

Full powerpoint presentation

Dr Raman and Teresa commented; 

Whatever you put into a PA you get back.  Support is key .

PA’s are an integral part of a multiprofessional and multidisciplinary team

Annual appraisals are very important

Requirements for a PA:
•    CBD/DOPS/mini CEX/MSF is recommended
•    40hrs CPD a year
•    Need to recertify with an exam every 6 years

Future conferences of interest

Setting Up and Running Virtual Clinics
Wednesday 6 December 2017 
Manchester Conference Centre, Manchester

National PROMs Summit 2017
Monday 11 December 2017 
De Vere West One, London

Effective Clinical Director
Monday 29 January 2018 
De Vere West One Conference Centre, London

Managing Doctors in Difficulty and Difficult Doctors
Thursday 22 February 2018 
The Studio Conference Centre, Birmingham

Transforming Outpatient Services National Summit
Monday 26 February 2018 
De Vere West One Conference Centre, London

6 November 2017


    Partner Organisations

    The Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation TrustInPracticeClinical Audit Support CentrePlayoutJust For Nurses
    GGI (Good Governance Institute) accredited conferences CPD Member BADS (British Association of Day Surgery) accredited conferences