Physician Associates in Paediatrics

Pivotal to achieving improved child health and service experience is a united, multi-professional workforce. Multidisciplinary teams are an effective way of bringing together professionals and diverse talent, knowledge and experience in a cohesive manner with the aim of achieving better child health outcomes. Physician Associates are a small part of the multidisciplinary team that currently exists in child health. The RCPCH workforce and careers team is working over the coming year to understand the role for the paediatric PA, how this works in practice in services, and gather the views of our members, health services, and children and young people themselves about this role.

On this page you will find information related to Physician Associates, including video interviews.
Last modified
19 October 2023

You can read more on the Faculty of Physician Associates (FPA) website (part of the Royal College of Physicians).

Who are Physician Associates?

Physician Associates (PAs) are collaborative healthcare professionals with a generalist education, who work alongside doctors and support delivery of care as a part of the multidisciplinary team. They are dependent practitioners working with a dedicated supervisor but are able to work autonomously with appropriate support in some cases.

PAs are scheduled for statutory regulation by the General Medical Council (GMC) estimated to take place in 2024/2025 This will see duties of PAs clarified and could be expanded to cover prescriptive rights and requesting of x-rays/ other ionising radiation requests.

What can Physician Associates do?

Physicians Associates are trained to work within a defined scope of practice and limits of competence to perform certain duties in adult care settings, detailed by NHS employers
Currently, PAs are not able to carry out the following:

  • Prescribe
  • Request ionising radiation (eg chest x-ray or CT scan).

The scope of PAs duties may change with GMC regulation expected in 2024/2025.

There is currently no national framework or curriculum for PAs in paediatrics. The RCPCH joins an intercollegiate working group led by the FPA and the College is scoping the experience and thoughts of our membership to inform future discussions about this role in Paediatrics

What are doctors responsibilities when working with Physician Associates?

It is important that PAs have a clearly defined job plan to allow both employer and PAs to understand what is expected of them and the supervision that is needed. The job plan should indicate hours of work, opportunities for development and required duties. It is also critical to ensure that all team members understand the PA role and their scope of practice.
The British Medical Association has published Principles for Effective Working for doctors when working with Physicians Associates and other Medical Associate Professionals

Good Medical Practice guidance from the GMC includes useful information including the responsibility of doctors when delegating.

You can also find further information on delegation and referral as part of the GMC’s ethical guidance.

Video interviews

These interviews in the below video were recorded during the RCPCH Advanced Clinical Practitioners and Physician Associates Event in 2020. In this interview, PAs give us an insight into their respective careers. Questions covered included:

  • What encouraged you to chose your respective career path
  • Why paediatrics
  • What a typical day/ week looks like
  • What do you enjoy about the role
  • What are your hopes for the future in your role

What if I have further questions?

You can email the Faculty of Physician Associates at or contact the RCPCH Careers and Workforce team on