Hull York Medical School celebrates the success of its first cohort of Physician Associates

18 January 2019
Graduates of the Hull York Medical School MSc Physician Associate Studies programme 2019

Hull York Medical School will celebrate the success of its first cohort of Physician Associate students as they graduate

Today Hull York Medical School will celebrate the success of its first cohort of Physician Associate students as they graduate at the University of Hull Graduation Ceremony at City Hall.

Of the 27 students graduating, 90% have secured employment within the region – working across hospitals and GP surgeries as part of multidisciplinary teams.

Professor Una Macleod, Dean and practising GP, is delighted to be attending the Graduation celebrations. She says:

‘I am delighted to be here today celebrating the success of our first cohort of Physician Associate Students. As healthcare professionals we operate in an increasingly fast paced and often challenging environment. As a school we are committed to working with our NHS partners to develop new ways of working and to support local workforce development. The students graduating today are already making a difference to patients within our region.’

Physician Associates (PAs) are a relatively new role within the NHS, designed to support doctors in the diagnosis and management of patients. Working as part of multidisciplinary teams they are trained to undertake a variety of tasks including taking medical histories, performing physical examinations, diagnosing illnesses, performing diagnostic and therapeutic procedures, analysing test results and providing health promotion and disease prevention advice. As a PA you might work in a GP surgery or be based in a hospital, working alongside other healthcare professionals, and with direct access to patients.

Hull York Medical School’s MSc in Physician Associate Studies is a two year, intensive professional Masters programme, developed to meet the requirements of the National Competence and Curriculum Framework for Physician Associates. Taught by practising clinicians and healthcare professionals, students are trained to diagnose and treat according to the medical model – similarly to medics and allied health professionals – ensuring they are well prepared to complement general practice but also work independently with appropriate support. The curriculum is centred around problem based learning led by expert clinicians and students’ learning is supplemented by clinical skills training and procedural skills at the School’s hospital sites. Students benefit from early exposure to patients (from week 3 of the course) and are able to experience a diverse range of clinical settings. These placements complement their learning at the new £28million health campus at the University of Hull, and teaching facilities within the School’s teaching hospital sites.

Students also have the opportunity to undertake a quality/service improvement project. Experience of carrying out this type of project is highly sought after in the NHS.

Tony Cosgrove, one of the students graduating today, is already putting what he has learnt into practice as a Physician Associate in Urology at Castle Hill Hospital, Hull and East Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust. He says: ‘I absolutely feel I am making a contribution to both my patients and to my clinical areas. Through my time running independent clinics in primary care, to assisting in surgery, and assessing and managing patients in A&E, I’ve had an opportunity to positively impact patients’ journeys in all stages of my training.’

The development of the Physician Associate role within the Yorkshire and Humber Region has been supported by Health Education England. The local Sustainability and Transformation Partnership have also provided support to help to establish the PA role within the region through a generous preceptorship scheme.

Amanda Fisher, Humber Coast and Vale Workforce Transformation Lead, believes the introduction of PAs to the regional workforce is a positive step. She says:

‘I am thrilled that almost all of the graduates have secured posts across Humber, Coast and Vale with the support of our two year Preceptorship programme. We didn't have any PAs working clinically in our area up until Autumn 2018, we now have more than 40 employed in our Hospitals and Community services including several General Practices across our region. PAs are an increasingly important part of our multi-professional Healthcare teams and we look forward to working with them to support their on-going development.’

Hull York Medical School is the joint medical school of the universities of Hull and York. It works in partnership with regional NHS Trusts and community healthcare providers to ensure it responds to local workforce needs and provides its students with the knowledge and skills to deliver exceptional care to patients. Over 1600 doctors have trained with the School and many of these are now working within the region and beyond as GPs, Psychiatrists and Consultants. In recognition of this and following the Department of Health initiative to expand the number of medical school places in England, Hull York Medical School has been awarded an additional 90 places – representing a 69% increase in places from 130 home places available in 2017 to 220 in 2019.

As well as ensuring its doctors are equipped with the knowledge and skills to deliver brilliant healthcare, the School has since day one been providing opportunities and support for young people across the region to fulfil their dreams of becoming doctors. Through a variety of widening participation activities which include a Summer Residential for Year 12 students,  and a successful Pathways to Medicine Programme funded by the Sutton Trust, the School has helped young people pursue a career in medicine – with many of these students now studying at Hull York Medical School.

The Physician Associate Programme is another example Hull York Medical School’s commitment to improving the health of people in this region and beyond.

For further information about the MSc in Physician Associate Studies and to hear from some of our students about their experiences visit the Hull York Medical School website.

You can also find out more at the Postgraduate Open Evening on 27 February 2019.