What does a physician associate do?
According to the Faculty of Physician Associates:
"Physician associates are collaborative healthcare professionals with a generalist medical education, who work alongside doctors, GPs and surgeons providing medical care as an integral part of the multidisciplinary team. Physician associates are dependent practitioners working with a dedicated surpervisor, but are able to work independently with appropriate support."
The medical care they provide includes:
- taking patient histories
- examining and diagnosing patients
- formulating and carrying out patient treatment and management plans
Physician associates are employed in acute hospital settings, in both medicine and surgery, as well as in general practice.
Due to existing legislation, they currently do not have the authority to prescribe, but this is something that is expected to change in the future.
Salary, progression and regulation
Physician associates can expect to receive a starting salary in the region of £30,000 per annum.
There is currently no structured career pathway, but with experience in this role, there is scope to develop your career further, and move into management, research, teaching, or further specialisation.
Compared to doctors, physician associates have much greater flexibility to move from speciality to speciality within their careers, e.g. from anaesthesia to paediatrics and general practice.
Physician associate examinations are run by the Faculty of Physician Associates, a department of the Royal College of Physicians.
In the future, the profession may be regulated by either the General Medical Council, or the Health and Care Professions Council.