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Physician Associates

Physician Associate (PA) is an exciting role in the UK.

Updated 18 March 2021


The Physician Associate (PA) role has been developed to support the NHS medical workforce in providing exceptional patient care. It has been in the UK for just over 10 years with over 40 years history in the USA post Vietnam War. It is currently one of the fastest growing professions in the UK

Physician Associate training follows the medical model, similar to doctors, producing qualified and competent healthcare professionals. There are Physician Associates in various specialties in secondary care, with an estimated 1000 to join primary care by 2020.

Over 30 universities run this programme as a postgraduate Masters or diploma, with a varying duration of two years full-time or three years part-time. Most candidates are required to have an undergraduate degree in any life science, and ideally a good experience working with patients.

The profession is now part of the Royal College of Physicians (RCP) with opportunities and access to resources and continuous professional development (CPD). It is currently under parliamentary review for professional regulation of the role and maintains a voluntary register under the Faculty of Physician Associates (FPA).

Support for PAs

In Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, we have six qualified Physician Associates working in two departments. There are three in the Ambulatory Assessment Unit (AAU) under Acute General Medicine and two in cardiothoracics.

The main aims for our Physician Associates are to improve continuity of care under a supervising consultant and to maintain the generalist knowledge as a profession.

Due to the dynamic nature of the role, the Trust has taking an active role in supporting and exploring new and innovative ways of integrating this new role into its established workforce.

These include:

  • supportive line managers
  • individual mentors to support and help guide the career progression of PAs
  • CPD opportunities via access to foundation year teachings, ground rounds, Physican Associate half-day teaching and full library resources.
  • academic research opportunities
  • funding for external CPD training
  • opportunities to develop leadership and management skills
  • quality improvement and clinical audits
  • regional Physician Associates network training days
  • opportunities for aspiring Physician Associates to shadow.

Oxford University Hospitals is aims to expand and develop the role to an outstanding standard, creating one of the best Physician Associates networks in the country.

Our team includes:

  • the Director of Medical Education
  • consultants
  • our five Physician Associates
  • senior registrars
  • administrators.

If you are interested in working as a Physician Associate, please email Chantal Vermenitch at the address below.


Further information

Faculty of Physician Associates