What is a Physician Associate?
Physician associates (PA) are a group of healthcare workers who have practiced in the UK since 2005. They are trained to provide general medical care to adults and children. Physician associates can work in both hospital medicine and general practice under the supervision of a named GP or consultant.
The profession was first established over 40 years ago in the USA and has been introduced in other countries including Canada, Netherlands and Australia. Over 220 physician associates are currently employed within the NHS in over 25 medical and surgical specialties, in over 40 locations.
Physician associates work in the same way as doctors do, carrying out tasks such as: taking medical histories, conducting examinations, diagnosing illnesses/injuries, requesting/interpreting investigations and referring for specialist care. All physician associates are trained to prescribe medication but currently do not prescribe in the UK pending governmental review. (At iPrimary Care, as in the NHS, medications are prescribed by medical doctors only).
We use physician associates because we find that they have excellent bedside manner and clinical skills, and work very well in teams led by our GPs.