This programme of study, skills development and placement experience allows you to build upon a first degree in biosciences, life sciences or health sciences in order to function as a qualified physician associate.
The programme teaches you to assess, diagnose and manage medical problems competently, consulting with patients presenting with a variety of specified conditions on behalf of, and under supervision of, a senior experienced doctor.
By the end of the programme, you will be able to deliver holistic medical care and treatment to a standard defined by the National Examination for Physician Associates, which will enable you to work in either Primary or Secondary Care.
The programme consists of eight taught modules.
On successful completion of the programme, students will receive a Post Graduate Diploma in Physician Associate Studies, but will also need to sit a National Examination comprising a written paper and OSCE examination, set by the Faculty of Physician Associates at the Royal College of Physicians, in order to be able to practise in the NHS.
On passing the National Examinations, the graduate can be registered on the National Register (currently a Voluntary Register but awaiting accreditation and appointment of a Regulatory Body). The graduate can only work as a physician associate in the NHS if he/she is on this National Register.
Example module listing
The following modules are indicative, reflecting the information available at the time of publication. Please note that not all modules described are compulsory and may be subject to teaching availability and/or student demand.
Physician associates support doctors in the diagnosis and management of patients. As a physician associate, you might work in a GP surgery or be based in a hospital, but wherever you work, you'll have direct contact with patients.
You’ll be trained to perform a number of day-to- day tasks including:
To understand what a physician associate does on a day-to- day basis, Health Education England have produced this informative Day in the Life of a Physician Associate video.
This programme will be delivered through collaboration with Health Education Kent, Surrey and Sussex and engagement with Brighton and Sussex Medical School (BSMS), Canterbury and Christchurch University (CCU) and the University of Kent.
The majority of teaching, however, will be conducted by Surrey staff and local NHS clinicians. The four HEIs (including Surrey) may share facilities in areas of individual specialist expertise, although teaching will be conducted by Surrey staff.
Working with local NHS Trusts (primary and community care, acute, secondary care and mental health) will enable elements including work-based assessments and summative assessments (the clinical OSCEs).
The University of Surrey is part of the Surrey Health Partners Alliance, bringing together NHS Trusts in Surrey with the University to enhance learning and teaching, research and clinical practice.
The local Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs, covering GP practices) and NHS Health Trusts (covering hospitals, community care and psychiatric care) are all represented fully within Surrey Health Partners.
Following successful graduation from this Diploma course, you will need to sit the National Assessment for Physician Associates, set by the Faculty of Physician Associates at the Royal College of Physicians, London.
Passing the National Assessment will allow you to be put onto the National Register for Physician Associates, so that you can practise clinically in the UK.
The predicted growth of the physician associate role across the NHS to fill an important resource gap indicates strong continued employment prospects for graduates. Physician associates will pursue a profession that is supported by the NHS and the Department of Health: over 30 hospitals currently employ PAs across the UK and the numbers are growing fast.
Health Education Kent, Surrey and Sussex aims to produce PAs who can work in primary as well as secondary care.
The overarching educational aim of the programme is to train graduates with a first degree in Biosciences, Life Sciences or Health Sciences, or suitable approved programme, to Post Graduate Diploma level, to function as a qualified physician associate (on passing the National Examination).
Physician associates will be able to:
This training includes the necessary knowledge, skills and professional attitudes needed to work to the medical model, demonstrating safe medical practice, medical competence, compassion, reflective and critical thinking in diagnostic reasoning and clinical management.
Graduates will be able to assess, diagnose and manage medical problems competently, consulting with patients presenting with a variety of specified conditions on behalf of, and under supervision of a senior experienced doctor.
They will be able to understand and demonstrate the principles of safe and effective prescribing.
Graduates will be trained to a standard defined by the National Examination for Physician Associates that will enable them to work as physician associates in the National Health Service, with appropriate accreditation and regulation once these have been decided and implemented.