Swansea University Medical School is so successful at training physician associates it has already been awarded funding to offer extra places.
Its first cohort of Physician Associate Studies Master’s students only graduated last summer but now the number of places available on the two-year course is set to rise by 10 to 30 this September.
Course director Dr Wyn Harris (pictured welcoming visitors to the Medical School’s recent PA careers event) said: “This is testament to the success of the course and the positive impact that physician associates are having in the NHS workforce in Wales.”
A physician associate is a rapidly growing healthcare role which sees them working alongside doctors in hospitals and surgeries, supporting the diagnosis and management of patients.
The additional training places are being funded by Health Education and Improvement Wales (HEIW), the body which oversees Welsh healthcare education and training.
HEIW Medical Director Professor Push Mangat emphasised the increasingly important role PAs play: “They complement existing medical models and provide much-needed continuity of care to patients. We are very pleased HEIW has been able to fund the additional training places for PAs and look forward to welcoming the trainees to NHS Wales.”
This year’s PA graduates not only achieved a 100 per cent pass rate in the National Test for Physician Associates but also said they were 100 per cent satisfied with the Swansea programme.
First year student Brad Sewell said: “I chose to study at Swansea because I enjoy interacting with patients and want to be able to help give them the best possible care.
“We learn alongside medical students, doctors, nurses across the breadth of clinical practice. Because we will work together, we train together - whether in a lecture theatre, on placement or further afield.”
Tom Addison, is now working at Hywel Dda University Health Board after completing the course.
He said: “Using PAs in practice is an example of how more care can be provided across many services, easing pressures on staffing levels and providing a reliable and consistent workforce which can contribute to the investigation, diagnosis and management of patients.”
Head of the Medical School Professor Keith Lloyd said: “We are committed to developing and supporting the health and life science workforce of the future - of which our physician associates are a very important part. These additional places will ensure our Physician Associate Studies course continues to thrive and deliver the NHS workforce of the future.”
Ian Evans, PA co-ordinator for ABMU Health Board, said it was very satisfying to see the hard work being done at Swansea rewarded.
“It’s clear the Medical School and its partners are leading the way in Wales when it comes to deliver fit-to-practice physician associates and will continue to do so in years to come,” he said.
Jodie Smith, a first year student, added: “Swansea University Medical School has gained an enviable reputation as a small and friendly community that cares and has the top three ranking to match. Why wouldn’t someone want to train in a place like that?”
Health Education and Improvement Wales (HEIW) was established on 1st October 2018. It is a special health authority within NHS Wales created by bringing together three key organisations for health - the Wales Deanery, NHS Wales’ Workforce Education and Development Services (WEDS), and the Wales Centre for Pharmacy Professional Education (WCPPE).
Sitting alongside health boards and trusts, HEIW has a leading role in the education, training, development and shaping of the healthcare workforce in Wales. Its key functions include education and training, workforce development and modernisation, leadership development, strategic workforce planning, workforce intelligence, careers, and widening access.
Further information can be found at https://heiw.nhs.wales/
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Swansea is ranked 30th in the UK in The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide. As well as achieving its UK top 30 position, Swansea was named runner-up for the overall University of the Year Title in the Good University Guide, and was also crowned Welsh University of the Year for the second time in three years.
The University has the highest possible rating for teaching – the Gold rating in the Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF) in 2018 and was commended for its high proportions of students achieving consistently outstanding outcomes.
Swansea climbed 14 places to 31st in the Guardian University Guide 2019, making us Wales’ top ranked university, with one of the best success rates of graduates gaining employment in the UK and the same overall satisfaction level as the Number 1 ranked university.
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