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Physician Associate

What is a Physician Associate?

A Physician Associate (PA) is defined as someone who is:

“A collaborative healthcare professional with a generalist medical education, who works alongside doctors, providing medical care as an integral part of the multidisciplinary team. Physician Associates are dependent practitioners working under medical supervision, but who are able to work autonomously with appropriate support”.

PAs will be employed as members of the medical team and will always work under the supervision of a designated doctor, who will provide clinical guidance when appropriate. Arrangements for supervision and the delegation of duties and responsibilities will vary according to the PA’s of overall experience and expertise in the particular clinical field. However, as a dependent profession, PAs will always work in close conjunction with a doctor or small team of doctors with clear lines of supervision.

Like all other regulated healthcare professionals, the PA will be accountable and responsible for their own practice, though the supervising doctor always maintains ultimate responsibility for the patient.

Qualified PAs may develop specialist expertise that reflects the specialty of their supervising doctor. This will be gained through experiential learning and continued professional development. However, they are expected to maintain their broad clinical knowledge base which is assessed through recertification every 6 years. This involves the testing of generalist knowledge only.