About Physician Associates

Who are physician associates?

The Department of Health defines the physician associate as:

"…a new healthcare professional who, while not a doctor, works to the medical model, with the attitudes, skills and knowledge base to deliver holistic care and treatment within the general medical and/or general practice team under defined levels of supervision."
Department of Health Competence and Curriculum Framework for the Physician Associate 2006, updated 2012

The educational standard is a two year postgraduate (i.e. they already have a first degree usually in a science subject) course split equally between theory and clinical practice. Students have to pass both a University and national examination.

Physician associates are employed in hospitals (Figure 1 shows the spread in 2012) and in general practices.


Reproduced from Ross et al. The case for the physician assistant. Clin Med June 1, 2012 vol. 12 no. 3 200-206 doi: 10.7861/clinmedicine.12-3-200

Where can I find out more about physician associates?

More information about the education and work of physician associates can be found at: