Physician Associates

Who Are Physician Associates?

Physician Associates are qualified healthcare professionals who have completed a 2 year intensive postgraduate programme and trained to the medical model. We are dependent clinicians who work alongside doctors and our aim is to support our teams in providing acute care to our patients and being the continuity on the ward. Our role includes seeing patients on the medical take and formulating differential diagnoses and management plan, partaking on ward rounds and seeing patients in clinic (this list is not exhaustive). With additional training, we can perform procedures such as lumbar puncture, ascitic drain and chest drain with the supervision of a doctor. We cannot prescribe or request ionising radiation. Often you will meet physician associates who have a special interest in a certain area for example ultrasound.

PAs in Acute Medicine

This is a great area to work! I am an advocate for PAs in Acute Medicine! I work at East Surrey Hospital where we have 6 PAs in the AMU department alone and make a fantastic contribution to the team.

I love Acute Medicine because it is exciting and exhilarating, not one-day is the same. We come across a range of conditions which is great for maintaining our general knowledge.

“PAs add a continuity to care that is often missing from modern medicine. They act as a consistent presence on the unit and support our junior trainees integrate into the way of working, also freeing time up for teaching and training. Locally we are aiming to train our PAs in procedural and ultrasound competencies, alongside developing their managerial and leadership skills. They are an invaluable part of our Acute Medical Unit and we could not function without them”

Dr Nick Smallwood, AMU Consultant/SAM Council

“I chose acute medicine because of it's fast pace environment. There are lots of opportunities to develop my skills and be a valuable member of the team”

Robert Deans, Physician Associate

“The PAs are the backbone of the ward providing continuity of care. Fantastic colleagues”

Dr Martin Dachsel, AMU Consultant

“ Acute medicine as a specialty enables you to see a wide variety of presentations, as a PA it fits well with the generalist nature of our training and complements it extremely well, maintaining a generalist is what we are about”

Michelle Chapman, Physician Associate Ambassador, KSS School of PAs, FPA Vice president

“ PAs have been an integral part of our team for over 8 years. I can honestly say that adding the role to expand our medical team has been one of the best decisions we made. 

We have more than 20 PAs working in the Medical Division providing vital continuity but in addition over time their roles have developed to include non- clinical project management and leading on quality improvement work that really adds to the care we provide."

Dr Natalie King, Clinical Director for Emergency Access, Head of KSS School of PAs

Useful Links

The Faculty of Physician Associates at the Royal College of Physicians

KSS School of PAs supports the development of PAs across Kent, Surrey and Sussex in the UK. They provide support to local universities, PA students, qualified PAs, PA employers and supervisors.

Health Careers

Physician associates support doctors in the diagnosis and management of patients: