Swansea University Medical School is marking the 70th anniversary of the NHS by celebrating the graduation of its very first Physician Associate students.
Physician Associates are a new role which is seen as a key part of modernising the NHS workforce.
Dr Wyn Harris, the Physician Associate Programme Director at Swansea University Medical School, said: “The Physician Associate role is a vital step towards re-shaping the NHS so it is a healthcare service fit for the 21st Century and for another 70 years.
“Physician Associates work to support doctors and take on many of the roles of a junior doctor. They are trained clinicians and can undertake initial patient assessments and carry out procedures. They are trained generally so they can work in all areas of healthcare such as medicine, surgery, paediatrics and mental health and can also work in primary or secondary care.”
Swansea University Medical School launched the two-year course back in September 2016 and this summer will see its first cohort of students graduate.
Looking at the future of the NHS
Professor Keith Lloyd, Head of the Medical School, said the school is contributing to improving the health, wealth and wellbeing of the people of Wales and beyond - not only through its research and innovation but also by developing the NHS workforce of the future.
Professor Lloyd said: “There are so many landmark events we can look back on over the past 70 years of the NHS, but as Wales’s number one Medical School we always need to look to the future.
“As we celebrate the NHS’s 70th anniversary, we are delighted to see our very first cohort of Physician Associate students graduate from the Medical School.
“Our Physician Associate programme is a real success story for us - many of this first cohort have already secured employment within NHS Wales and the course has also just achieved 100% student satisfaction rating in the Postgraduate Student Survey.
“Our student numbers have already increased in the two years the course has been up and running and we have received more than 160 applications for the next cohort of 20 students who are due to start in September.”
Best decision of my career
Second year Physician Associate student Cameron Brennan said choosing to study on the Physician Associate course at Swansea was the best career decision he has made. He said: “I am now approaching the end of my course, and taking stock of the world class training and opportunities we have had - I can happily say retraining has been the best career decision I have made to date.
“I am proud to be entering into a profession that I am confident will be able to provide exceptional healthcare and help ensure the Welsh NHS is in a strong position to cope with future demands. Although the Physician Associate profession is new to Wales, the teaching offered at Swansea University Medical School has ensured that we have already began making waves and proving our usefulness across the whole of Wales.”
Ian Evans, ABM University Health Board Physician Associate co-ordinator added: “Even though the course is still in its infancy, it is already proving to be very successful and we are constantly working with the Medical School to ensure we can offer Physician Associate students clinical placements across all our health boards. At present we have students placed ABM, Aneurin Bevan, Cwm Taf and Hywel Dda University Health Boards.
“The word is spreading about Physician Associates and it is becoming more apparent that NHS colleagues want to experience working with them and witness first hand on how they can improve the multidisciplinary team and medical workforce in general.”
To find out more about the Physician Associate and the many other courses on offer at Swansea University Medical School visit: www.swansea.ac.uk/medicine
For more information, please contact Emma Bryant, Head of Advancement, Swansea University Medical School: firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01792 605685