North West Physician Associate Programme

Thank you for your interest in the physician associate programmes offered across the Northwest England.

Physician associates are healthcare professionals who work as part of a multidisciplinary team with supervision from a named senior doctor (a General Medical Council registered consultant or general practitioner), providing care to patients in primary, secondary and community care environments. PAs are part of the government’s medical associate professions (MAPs) grouping in the health and care workforce and have been working in the UK since 2003. 


Medical practitioner, wearing a stethoscope in a clinical setting, smiling at the camera Although physician associates are dependent practitioners, they can also practice independently and make independent decisions. This is enabled by collaboration and supportive working relationships with their medical supervisors, meaning that there is always someone who can discuss cases, give advice and review patients if necessary.


As a qualified physician associate you will be able to consider a career in the acute, specialist, and or Primary Care settings meaning you could work in a large hospital or a GP Practice.

The Royal College of Physicians hosts the Faculty of Physician Associates.  You will be able to find out more information about the training and role of physician associates on their website 

The course in the North West runs over a 48 week year of which 50% will be academic (university based) and 50% in clinical placements. Whilst on placement you will be supported by an Educational Supervisor (Consultant or GP depending on the setting)Medical practitioner, wearing a stethoscope talking to a student, clinical supervisors and the wider multi-disciplinary team. All your placements will be arranged for you and will be aligned to your required learning outcome as determined by the  Faculty of Physician Associates Competence and Curriculum Framework.  

NHS England, in line with the national funding model for supporting student physician associates will pay students £2,601 per annum - in the North West this payment is paid in line with the courses required clinical placements and is aimed at assisting students with travel costs. This payment is not means tested and you do not need to apply for it. NHS E make payments to our university partners every four months, however it is at the descretion of the university to deicde when these payments will be allocated to students. 

For further information on the universities offering the physician associate programme in the North West please follow the links below which will take you to the websites of our university partners.


 university of central lancaster logo with link to the University website


         Programme start - September 


 university of chester logo with link to the University website


         Programme start - February


edgehill university logo with link to the University website         Programme start - September 


university of manchester logo with link to the University website





    Programme start - September


university of bolton logo with link to the University website




         Programme start - September .



The following links may be of use to current or upcoming students 

NHS - Our Work - Physician Associates       

RCP - Faculty of Physician Associates 

PATH - Physician Associates Transforming Healthcare

PA Regulation Update from the GMC


Post Graduation 

Once qualified, physician associates work across the acute and primary care sectors in areas such as GP practices, mental health teams, O&G , theatre support and A&E.  Newly qualified PAs should be provided with a supportive learning environment, in which they can strengthen and develop their skills. While a newly qualified PA should be able to deliver service, they will still require training and supervision, as would any new member of staff in a first job.

NHS E offer a £5000 preceptorship allowance to employers to support the supervison and education of newly qualified PAs working in Primary Care. These roles are available across the Northwest and are listed on on the NHS jobs website.


Primary Care Recruitment 

If you are an employer and thinking about recruiting a PA for the first time, 

Please read the guidelines around PA preceptorship funding  and mentorship requirements before emailing
 for an application form. 



For answers to some commomly asked questions, read our frequently asked questions document


Physician associate (degree) apprenticeships

NHS England is implementing a national framework to support employers to access quality assured PA degree apprenticeship training programmes. In the Northwest, two higher education institutions (HEIs) have been approved to deliver programmes, starting from September 2024. See the link below for more information, including information on funding, other FAQs and up to date provider/course information. Employers can also access a template job description and business case.     

FAQs on the Healthcare Apprenticeship Standards Online (HASO) website.


If you require any additional information please e-mail


Unfortunately, due to the high level of interest in these programmes, NHS England in the North West are unable to accept enquires by phone.