Experts at St George’s, University of London, have welcomed the announcement by the Secretary of State for Health, Jeremy Hunt, of a consultation about regulation for the Physician Associate profession.

Physician Associate w web

Physician Associates (PAs)  work alongside doctors in primary and secondary care and take medical histories, perform physical examinations, request and analyse test results, diagnose illnesses, and develop treatment and management plans.

PAs usually have a first degree in a biomedical science and then undertake two years of postgraduate study.

The Department of Health describes the move as reflecting: “Rising demands for medical treatment and advances in clinical care requires a co-ordinated approach and greater skill mix within NHS healthcare teams.”

Karen Roberts, course director of the Physician Associate Studies programme at St George’s, University of London, said: “This announcement of a consultation on the registration of Physician Associates as a profession is very welcome.

“It has taken us 10 years to get to this point and has been a huge effort from many PAs and stakeholders to get here. 

“It is vital for the Physician Associate profession to be statutorily regulated to enable physician associates to work to the full extent of their abilities, enhance professional credibility and most importantly to provide public protection and safety.

The course at St George’s, University of London is the UK’s longest running Physician Associate studies programme and is in its10th year and has 135 students across both years of the programme.

Students on the course have an exceptionally high success rate at the PA national exam.