The Faculty of Physician Associates was formally launched on 2 July 2015. The UK Association of Physician Associates (UKAPA), Health Education England and the Royal College of Physicians (RCP), in conjunction with other Royal Colleges, have worked collaboratively to set up the Faculty – the first non-doctor faculty of the RCP.
A Physician Associate (PA) is a healthcare professional who, while not a doctor, works to the medical model, with the attitudes, skills and knowledge base to deliver holistic care and treatment within the general medical and/or general practice team, under defined levels of supervision. PAs are dependant practitioners who work within agreed guidelines and a predetermined level of senior (consultant, registrar or general practitioner) supervision. PAs are trained to take medical histories, perform examinations, develop differential diagnoses, analyse test results and develop management plans.
Physician Associate is an increasingly popular career in the NHS. There are currently just over 250 PAs working across a range of specialties in the UK, with six universities currently running PA courses. With more universities hoping to open courses within the next 12-18 months, it is predicted that by 2016 there could be at least 100 physician associates graduating each year in the UK.
On 19 June, the health secretary announced there will be 1,000 new physicians associates working in general practice by 2020 as part of the ‘new deal’ to alleviate the GP workforce crisis. An overview of the work of PAs is available from the Health Education England website.
At present, a Shadow Faculty Board is planning the transfer of both the PA Managed Voluntary Register (MVR) and the membership of UKAPA to the Faculty.
PA Faculty members will have access to membership benefits of the Royal College of Physicians including publications, access to library resources and discounts on educational courses and events. The membership fee will be the same as the current UKAPA and MVR membership fee of £200 and there will also be a student membership category for £12 per year.
As part of the creation of the Faculty, we are also supporting work in strengthening the education, training and CPD for Physician Associates, including: