The Health Secretary has committed £15 million into training 1000 new physicians associates by 2020.
Physicians Associates are set to start working alongside GPs in general practice with the aim of improving access to primary care services and reducing strains on emergency care.
Applicants will each receive £9,000 in annual course fees and £6,000 as a maintenance bursary working out as over £31,000 per physician associate. The funded role comes as a blow to Nurses after the decision to remove course funding and bursary payments from Nursing students.
Although every physicians associate course offers placement with GPs currently there is no contractual obligation to work in general practice, or even the NHS, after graduating.
A spokesperson said Health Education England said ‘We are pleased there is a real appetite for expanding the PA programme, there are 28 courses now compared to two four years ago. This illustrates how the work HEE has done with partners, local NHS trusts and primary care providers has helped to stimulate interest in the profession.'
The physician associate role is relatively new in the UK. Applicants will need a science based degree, or have worked as a registered healthcare professional, to apply for the role. Currently they no formal regulatory body or prescribing powers, however the Government is considering both of these.