COVID19: Change to required hours of clinical practice – June 2020

Following the announcement on 24 March 2020 regarding the 1400-hour clinical placement minimum, the PASC raised concerns that the impact of Covid-19 was ongoing, and that it would be necessary to further mitigate the impact on student clinical training.  

Following significant discussion and with careful consideration of the consequences of reducing placement hours requirements, it was determined that the minimum required hours for current Year 2 students only would decrease to 1260 clinical hours, with an allowance of up to 140 hours in simulation. The total required hours remain at 1400. 

The COVID situation will be reviewed in autumn 2020, to see if the adjustment needs to be applied to the current Year 1 students. 

Given the current crisis and the likelihood of further delay to placements, the FPA and PASC understand that certain adaptations may be required. However, patient safety remains of paramount importance and therefore the decisions made have not been taken lightly.   

The FPA and PASC recommend that during the ongoing COVID-19 crisis, courses training Physician Associates in the UK accept no fewer than 1400 placement hours, which may include up to 10% simulation for current Y2 students. There must be a minimum of 1260 clinical practice hours for these students. As an interim measure, the clinical placement hours may be acquired in any medical or surgical specialty, including General Practice. It is expected that all students complete the appropriate assessments within their University programme leading to a postgraduate diploma or MSc approved by the relevant exam board.  

The entry requirements for the PA National Exam remain unchanged. Those who have completed the requirements of a UK university programme in Physician Associate studies will be eligible to enter the national examinations, and only those who pass can enter the MVR.