Jeannie Watkins, president of the Faculty of Physician Associates, met with the University of Bolton to discuss the establishment of a new physician associate programme in September 2017. 

Professor Jane Dacre and I attended a meeting at the University of Bolton. We were warmly welcomed by Professor George E Holmes (vice chancellor), Dr Kondal Reddy Kandadi (assistant vice chancellor), Jane Howarth (dean of health), Mr Steve Hodgson (medical director at Royal Brompton and Harefield NHS Foundation Trust), Dr Ambar Basu (consultant and RCP tutor at Royal Brompton and Harefield NHS Foundation Trust) and Michelle Powell (programme lead). They informed us about their desire and current plans to open a physician associate programme in September 2017. We were able to advise them on the requirements for physician associate programmes nationally, to inform them about the work of the FPA and linking the programme to the UK and Ireland Universities Board for Physician Associate Education. We had a tour of their fantastic skills labs and resources and, to my great delight, we were able to play with their Anatomage table. This table is a technologically advanced anatomy visualisation system that allows users to explore the complex anatomy of the human body in digital form, which eliminates the need for a human cadaver (cue digital envy!). While we were at the University of Bolton, we also briefly spoke to the Rt Hon Andy Burnham MP (previous shadow secretary of state for health) who is currently running for mayor of Greater Manchester. It was a pleasure to speak to him, to tell him about the rapidly expanding physician associate profession and how we can help to redistribute the medical workload and to ease the current workforce pressures.

It was a great meeting at the University of Bolton, and I look forward to the opening of their physician associate programme and to meeting their physician associates in the future.

Read more about the meeting from the University of Bolton.