PA Placements in Primary Care

PA Placements in Primary Care

Are you interested in finding out how Physician Associates could fit into your GP Practice?

Would you be interested in taking a Physician Associate student on placement?

What are PAs?

Physician Associates (PAs) are new healthcare professionals that are trained to the medical model, through a 2-year post-graduate degree that enables them to assess, diagnose, investigate and manage patients. They are expected to maintain generalist knowledge and therefore can work across all specialities including General Practice.

Currently PAs are unable to prescribe or request ionising radiation – the GMC are in the process of regulating the profession, which is expected to be in place towards the end of 2021. Upon regulation PAs will be allowed to request ionising radiation. It has not yet been decided how prescribing will be assessed but the GMC are also working on this with the aim of having a process in place at the time of regulation.

What support do qualified PAs need?

Newly qualified PAs are likely to require longer appointments times initially with blocked out slots in order to discuss any concerns that they may have. It is expected that the supervisor and PA will work together to reduce these as the PA gains confidence and experience, as well as increasing the variety of conditions that the PA sees. There is also scope to train PAs to do more advanced procedures in order to improve the services that a practice offers.

Why should I be interested in PA student placements?

Many PA students are very keen to work in GP when they qualify and supervising a student on placement whilst they develop their knowledge and skills can be a helpful way of seeing how a PA could fit into the team.

First year students spend 12 days (one a week for 12 weeks) in General Practice. This is primarily an observational placement, seeing how the system works and what different roles involve. Second year students spend a 7 week block in General Practice where they are expected to practice their history taking and examination skills as well as developing their clinical reasoning and knowledge.

WT&E provides funding for GPs, via the university, in order to support these placements. This works out at around £95 a day, or £3,350 for a 7 week placement.

How do I find out more?

For any questions regarding Physician Associates or enquiries regarding placements, please contact Emily Gwinnell at

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