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Physician Associate Studies Diploma

Course Description


The programme is being re-opened in partnership with the Queen Elizabeth Hospital (University Hospital Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust) and with other hospitals and practices in the Midlands.

Physician Associate (formerly known as Physician Assistant) is a rapidly growing healthcare role in the UK, working alongside doctors in hospitals and in GP surgeries. Physician Associates will support doctors in the diagnosis and management of patients. They are trained to perform a number of roles including: taking medical histories, performing examinations, analysing test results, and diagnosing illnesses under the direct supervision of a doctor.

The University of Birmingham (in partnership with University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust and in collaboration many other Trusts across the Midlands) is delighted to offer this opportunity to graduates to make a valuable contribution to the nation’s health.

The development of the profession has been led by the Department of Health and has involved the Royal Colleges of Physicians and of General Practitioners as well as the profession itself through the UK Association of Physician Associates (UKAPA). University of Birmingham staff have taken a key role in the development of the programme at a national as well as a regional level in response to need identified by local healthcare providers.

Successful completion of the programme will qualify you to practise as Physician Associates (PAs) in the UK (NB: the UK PA training programme does not qualify you to work in the USA).

Course content

The course leaders regard integration of theory and practice as fundamental to clinical learning. Theory is learned mostly through problem-based learning and students experience medicine in both hospital and community attachments. The rich ethnic and socio-economic diversity of the 5.5 million strong West Midlands population offers unrivalled opportunities for clinical learning, and placements seek to optimise this.

From the first semester, students have contact with patients as they are attached for 5 days of clinical experience to a General Practice in the West Midlands. The second year continues the problem-based learning approach and integrates mental health in community medicine, Reproductive and Child Health, Surgery, GP, Emergency Medicine A&E and Acute Admissions. Throughout the course, students receive teaching in a variety of forms; lectures, seminars, tutorials, laboratory work, and bedside demonstrations. Simulation is fundamental to this course, using simulated patients (who will teach you communication and examination skills, including gynaecological and urological examination) and, when appropriate, high tech simulation methodologies such as Harvey and SimMan. Simulation aims both to prepare you for the clinical world and to train you in a safe, non-threatening environment.

Why study this course

Make a real difference to patient care and the NHS while earning a starting salary of £30,764 rising to £40,558 (with possible progression in exceptional cases to £47,088) .All UoB's graduates are currently being paid at least £30,000 p.a. Many Trusts offer a formal internship training year which would typically start on approximately £25,500

Be part of this new and rapidly growing UK profession and follow a career path which has already had proven success in the US (there are over 86,000 Physician Associates practising there)

Pursue a profession that is supported by the NHS and the Department of Health: over 30 hospitals employ PAs across the UK and the numbers are growing fast

95% of our past graduates are now working as Physician Associates in almost every clinical area from specialist mental health to paediatric surgery to oncology to general practice.

Explore postgraduate study at Birmingham at our on-campus open day (Friday 4 March 2016). Register to attend at: http://www.birmingham.ac.uk/pgopendays

If you can’t make it to one of our on-campus open days, our virtual open days run regularly throughout the year. For more information, please visit: http://www.pg.bham.ac.uk

Visit the Physician Associate Studies Diploma page on the University of Birmingham website for more details!

Student Profiles

Entry Requirements

Typical offer: 2:1 in a Life Sciences Degree (eg. Biology, Biochemistry, Medical Science, Nursing, Physiotherapy) or equivalent qualification. A Level Chemistry Grade C or equivalent. GCSE Maths and English Grade B or above.N.B. Extensive experience in the health service may contribute to your application if the above requirements are not fully met.

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Recipient: University of Birmingham
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