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RCP welcomes Faculty of Physician Associates’ new title and introduction guidance

The first in a series of supportive guidance to help generate better understanding of the physician associate (PA) role has been published by the Faculty of Physician Associates (FPA). The FPA, hosted by the RCP, is the professional membership body for PAs in the UK.

The Physician Associate Title and Introduction Guidance is aimed at giving PAs, doctors, supervisors, other healthcare professionals, employers and organisations a structured and standardised way of using the physician associate title. The document highlights the importance of explaining the physician associate title, associated abbreviations and that PAs are not doctors. It gives practical examples of how PAs should introduce and describe their role.

The wider supportive guidance series is aimed at helping patients and the public understand both the PA role and its scope of practice better. By covering supervision, scope of practice and career development it will provide employers, supervisors and healthcare professionals clear information to support safe and effective working with physician associates.

The new guidance series will be disseminated widely throughout the PA profession and the NHS. It has been welcomed by NHS England, with National Medical Director Professor Stephen Powis commenting: “The NHS Long Term Workforce Plan outlines how we can put the NHS on a sustainable footing by training, retaining and reforming the workforce to deliver multi-disciplinary teams serving patients across the NHS.

“One part of this is expanding enhanced, advanced and associate roles already working across the NHS, including physician associates which are internationally recognised effective roles within a multi-disciplinary team.

“The RCP and Faculty of Physician Associates’ work to help increase understanding of the physician associate role, to support colleagues coming into these roles, and to develop appropriate curricula, capability and career frameworks, is an essential part of ensuring that these roles work effectively for patients and with doctors and other professionals within the wider NHS workforce.”

FPA title and introduction guidance October 2023.

Faculty of Physician Associates website.

Background briefing on development of the PA role.