FPA employer's guide FPA launches 'An employer's guide to physician associates'

The Faculty of Physician Associates (FPA) at the Royal College of Physicians (RCP) has published An Employer’s guide to physician associates*, a guide that enables healthcare providers (including acute hospital trusts, community trusts, and primary care organisations) to understand the role of the physician associate (PA), their scope of practice, and how to employ a PA.

It is a resource intended to advise employers on:

  • the current education and regulatory framework for the profession
  • employment and supervision
  • tools to help guide appraisal, career and salary progression
  • recommendations for continuing professional development (CPD).

To ensure that the guidance reaches those who will most benefit from the information, the RCP is sending the guidance out to its external stakeholders including NHS Providers, NHS Confederation, medical directors and CEOs of trusts, and a wide range of specialty societies among others.

Jane Dacre, president of the RCP, said:

One of the reasons that the RCP decided to establish the FPA was to ensure that the expansion of this new section of the medical workforce was done as safely and effectively as possible, particularly pending formal regulation.

The RCP is committed to strengthening the relationship between doctors and physician associates. We hope that An Employer’s guide to physician associates will help employers, commissioners and workforce planners understand physician associates, when to employ them, how they can best be used for the benefit of the wider team and to improve the provision of patient care.

Jeannie Watkins, president of the FPA, said:

The physician associate profession is a growing and evolving one. We estimate that there will be just under 600 qualified physician associates in the UK by the end of the year. This is expected to grow to up to 3,200 by 2020.

Physician associates, in addition to existing members of the healthcare team, are here to add value, capacity and generalist skills to the clinical teams providing care for patients across primary and secondary care. This guidance will not only help employers to introduce physician associates to their teams, but also retain PA’s by supporting them to progress and succeed.

The launch of An employer’s guide to physician associates coincided with the FPA’s second National Annual CPD Conference, which took place on Monday 18 and Tuesday 19 September, at which Dr Jeeves Wijesuriya, junior doctors trainee committee chair at the BMA, delivered the opening plenary. 

*This guidance is currently under review (June 2023). If you're an employer with a specific question or query, please get in touch with us via [email protected] for support during this time.