25 February 2016

Hull York Medical School to train new healthcare professionals to support NHS services

Today, Hull York Medical School (HYMS) launches a two year Masters programme which enables graduates with strong biomedical science backgrounds to train and qualify as a Physician Associate. The Physician Associate is a new healthcare professional role working in support and under the supervision of doctors in the diagnosis and management of patients in community and hospital settings. There are 30 places available for the next academic year, starting in September 2016.

Currently very successful in the USA, the Physician Associate role is relatively new in the UK. The HYMS programme is a part of a national initiative, supported by the NHS and the Royal College of Physicians, to train more Physician Associates to work in hospitals, general practices and other healthcare settings in the UK.

HYMS has a strong track record of producing excellent doctors. Through the development of this programme and by working closely with NHS employers, HYMS will further support the workforce in the Yorkshire and Humber region and enhance healthcare services in areas which face difficulties in recruiting sufficient doctors to meet the needs of their populations. HYMS is one of several medical schools offering this programme, and the first group of fully qualified physician associates will start work in the region in two years’ time.

Dean of HYMS, Professor Trevor Sheldon is enthusiastic about the medical school’s role in this national programme. He said:

“HYMS is enormously proud to be part of this exciting national initiative to get more talented, caring and motivated people working in the NHS. I believe healthcare in our region in particular will be strengthened as a result of Physician Associates supporting our hard-working doctors and other health professionals.”

Dr Mark Purvis, Director of Postgraduate General Practitioner Education in Yorkshire and the Humber added:

“General practice is facing an unprecedented challenge to meet increasing patient needs. Skill mix within our clinical teams is a core component of addressing this challenge. New roles such as the Physician Associate are an exciting opportunity to broaden the General Practice workforce to serve the needs of our communities. I welcome this development from the Hull York Medical School and its potential to grow a new workforce drawn from our population in Yorkshire and the Humber.”

Chief Medical Officer of Hull and East Riding Hospitals NHS Trust, Mr Kevin Phillips is delighted about the benefits that this new role will bring to the NHS.

“The innovation of the Physician Associate programme and the contribution that the Hull York Medical School are making to train students in this important, new healthcare role is fully supported by the Hull and East Yorkshire NHS Trust. Physician Associates will provide a valuable contribution to improving healthcare services and will help to relieve some of the pressures that we know exist in the delivery of medical care. We are delighted that this role will bring new opportunities for people to train as a healthcare professional and progress in their careers. The NHS will work closely with HYMS to deliver practical training and high quality education of Physician Associates.”

Thirty fully-funded scholarships, from Health Education England in Yorkshire and the Humber, are available for those starting the programme in September 2016. These cover the costs of tuition fees and travel. Prospective applicants wishing to find out more about this programme should visit the Physician Associate webpage on the Hull York Medical School website.