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Physician associates in primary care

Physician associates in primary care

The 2016 General Practice Forward View committed to strengthening the workforce. This included an aim to recruit 1000 physician associates (PAs) into general practice.

PAs are clinical graduates trained in the medical model. They must pass an intensive 2- year university course at diploma or masters level to learn clinical knowledge and skills after completing a 3 -year biomedical or healthcare related degree. They train in both the acute sector and primary care to gain a rounded patient centred clinical experience. 


With the support of funding from Health Education England (HEE), there are around 34 Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) offering PA programmes. This means the number of qualified PAs is increasing. In February 2018, there were 1,358 student PAs registered in England, with an estimated 2,855 PA graduating by the end of 2020.


HEE are implementing a number of initiatives to help increase the number of PAs choosing to work in general practice:


·       Educational support allowance for students

·       Increase in the number of hours of clinical placement in primary care

·       Additional preceptorship funding for employers who take on a PA

·       Targeted awareness raising


There’s a dedicated general practice employers page with access to contacts and free resources on the Faculty of Physician Associates website 


Find out more about the role of a physician associate visit the Health Careers website.


For more information email physicianassociates@hee.nhs.uk