Explosive Growth in British Physician Associate Education since 2008

Tamara S. Ritsema, The George Washington University
Karen A. Roberts, St George's University of London
Jeannie S. Watkins, St George's University of London


© 2019 Physician Assistant Education Association. Unauthorized reproduction of this article is prohibited. Physician associate (PA) education in the United Kingdom has grown substantially since the establishment of 4 PA education programs in the late 2000s. From those 4 programs in 2008, the number of universities educating PAs fell to a nadir of 2 programs in 2012 and then rose to 29 by the end of 2017. Due to program closures, the number of students enrolled in the early years fluctuated substantially. In 2008, 43 students entered PA education; in 2010, only 17 students started PA training, but in 2017, the number of students enrolled in PA programs soared to 853. Early in the course of PA education, programs were only offered in the greater London and West Midlands areas of England. As of 2017, PAs were being educated in all 4 countries of the United Kingdom, although the explosive growth in the number of programs is expected to slow as 2020 nears.