Change to required hours of clinical practice

The Physician Associate Schools Council (PASC) Executive Board, along with representatives from the Faculty of Physician Associates (FPA) and the Royal College of Physicians (RCP) came together on Tuesday 17/3/2020 to discuss the current COVID-19 crisis and impact on Physician Associate student education. It was discussed that many courses have moved to online teaching models for the theoretical components and several have had to postpone or cancel clinical placements and assessments.

Given the current COVID-19 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 lightlyThe PASC executive and FPA and RCP will meet weekly and update this guidance.

The FPA and PASC recommend that during the ongoing COVID-19 crisis, courses training Physician Associates in the UK accept no fewer than 1400 hours of clinical practice in order to be able to meet the clinical requirements for the course. As an interim measure, the requirements for the clinical specialty hours will have a degree of flexibility and students unable to complete the required hours in Mental Health, Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Paediatrics and General Surgery will be permitted to complete hours in other clinical areas in order to compensate for this and meet the overall total number of hours. Simulation does not count towards these hours. In addition to the minimum of 1400 clinical hours, 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 (SBA and OSCE) remain unchanged where all those who have completed the requirements of a university programme in Physician Associate studies, with the CCF as the underlying requirement, within the UK education system will be eligible to enter the national examinations, and only those who pass can enter the MVR.

We will continue providing you with updates as soon as we can.