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Recruiting a Physician Associate in Primary Care

Please see below a letter from Health Education England on recruiting a Physician Associate within your Primary Care Network (PCN) as part of the Additional Roles Reimbursement Scheme (ARRS).

Dear ……….

Primary Care Training Hubs bring together education and training in Primary Care to assist you in planning your PCN workforce, help you recruit and retain your PCN workforce and to help you introduce and embed new staff roles.

We understand you have expressed an interest in recruiting a Physician Associate (PA) as part of the Additional Roles Reimbursement Scheme (ARRS) within your PCN. Primary Care Training Hubs can provide support for you with this process and support retention of your new PA through an HEE preceptorship grant.


One of the best ways to begin recruiting PAs is hosting a student PA on placement during their training. A number of PCNs in our region are in the process of recruiting the 2nd year PA students that they hosted on placement over the past year, as they already know them and have been directly involved in their development. If you would be interested in hosting a student PA within the PCN, in the future please do let your local training hub know and we can arrange a time to discuss this further.

If you wish to recruit more widely for a PA, you could advertise via NHS Jobs or on a local LMC website. HEE also run occasional PA recruitment events, where you would be welcome to attend as a potential employer.

Salary Expectations

As all PA courses are at a Postgraduate (Masters/PGDip) level, it is worth noting that there is an expectation that PAs should be employed at an AFC Band 7 equivalent salary (£40,057) as a starting point, and this is what the ARRS in Primary Care allows for. All acute NHS Trusts advertise for PAs at this banding as do most Primary Care employers.


Student PAs and Qualified PAs are covered under the Clinical Negligence Scheme for General Practice operated by NHS Resolution for more information visit their website here. Additional, private, cover through for example the MDU, MPS or MDDUS may also be advisable depending on the physician associates' roles and duties. Many group policies do cover PAs – please check with your indemnity provider.


The concept of a preceptorship year is increasingly used across clinical professions to support the development of both clinical and professional skills in complex clinical environments. Having completed their pre-registration education, support for new graduates on entry into the workforce has been demonstrated to enhance confidence and competence, providing a bridge between the supervision of the pre-registration learner and the mature clinician. Preceptorship also supports retention of your workforce. The HEE Preceptorship grant is available to support both newly qualified PAs and those taking up their first post in Primary Care [within 36 months of qualifying]. For more information about applying for a Preceptorship Year please contact the HEE SE PA Programme Team by emailing


PA are classed as dependent practitioners, so will need access to a named clinical supervisor. In most circumstances this is a GP, but this does not need to be a GP Trainer but does need someone with recognised Clinical Supervision training. At present legislation does not allow PAs to independently prescribe medications but with the anticipated regulation of PAs by the GMC this is likely to change in the future.

Job Descriptions/Person Specifications

The Faculty of Physician Associates webpage has some useful information, including an example job description and person specification, which you may find helpful.

Further Information

If you have any further questions or queries regarding PAs in Primary Care, please email your local Primary Care Training Hub:

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