Integrated Care Partnership

Physicians Associate

Currently ICP employs a Physicians Associate based at The Old Cottage Hospital Surgery.
During the recent Patient Participation Group focus group meeting, it was mentioned that some patients were unclear about the role of a PA and that perhaps some information about a PA’s qualifications and training would be useful.

Physicians Associates are dependent health care professionals who have been trained in the medical model and work with supervision of a doctor. What are a PA’s responsibilities ?
Physicians Associates can:

Conduct physical examinations
Diagnose and treat illnesses
Order tests and interpret results
Counsel on preventive health care

Currently, PAs are not able to prescribe medication.

In a GP surgery, PAs see patients of all ages for acute and chronic medical care. PAs can refer patients to consultants, the EAU, or to A&E when clinically appropriate. Other duties include home visits, prescription reauthorisation, review of incoming post & laboratory results.

A PA is fully trained in the basic medical sciences such as anatomy, clinical medicine and physical diagnosis. They undertake clinical posts on a rotational basis in:

General medicine
General practice
Paediatric medicine
Emergency medicine
Elderly Care

They are required to take ongoing continuing medical education classes and be re tested on their clinical skills on a regular basis.
The PA is a representative of the doctor and will treat the patient in a style and manner directed by the supervising doctor. The role of a Physicians Associate has been used as a model for the new role of Medical Practitioner that the NHS will continue to develop in the UK.