What is a Physician Associate (PA)?
A physician associate is a dependent health care professional who has been trained in the medical model and works with supervision of a doctor or surgeon. PAs obtain medical histories, conduct comprehensive physical exams, request and interpret tests, diagnose and treat illnesses and injuries, and counsel on preventive health care.
As in the early days in the United States, PAs in the UK are not able to prescribe medication at this time. PAs are involved in acute medicine as well as chronic disease management.
In a GP surgery, PAs see patients of all ages for acute and chronic medical care. PAs can refer patients to other services or to A & E when clinically appropriate. Other duties include home visits, prescription reauthorisation, review of incoming post and laboratory results. Physician associates are an additional health care team member to help the practice reach Quality Outcome Framework targets.