First Physician Associate signs up to DFSRH

Posted 11 Feb 2021

Date: 11 Feb 2021

Author: Brad Sewell

Brad Sewell, a Physician Associate (PA) in Wales, was the first PA to apply and be accepted onto our redesigned FSRH Diploma (DFSRH). He outlines how the qualification is helping him develop and how PAs skilled-up in SRH can help both services and patients.

I am currently in my intern year as a Physician Associate (PA), which means I’m able to consolidate learning from my PA programme and focus on developing my foundations in both primary care and sexual & reproductive health (SRH).

This is a unique post for a PA at present, but I hope my intern year will highlight why such a position could be useful to other sexual health and primary care services.

A key focus for me this year is to build on my SRH knowledge from my PA programme in both contraception and GUM. My team have supported me to apply for the FSRH Diploma (DFSRH) as a resource to contribute to my intern year development. It’s fantastic that the redesigned DFSRH has been forward-thinking in recognising the scope of a Physician Associate’s role and welcoming us to their DFSRH.

Maximising my SRH knowledge and skills

My generalist medical training is definitely helping me settle into my PA post in SRH, but the DFSRH and learning opportunities will help me to learn specialist SRH skills and knowledge, and maximise my contribution to our multi-faceted SRH team.

I am the first Physician Associate to be accepted onto the DFSRH, and already I’ve developed and enhanced my SRH practice.

The eSRH programme which supports learning for the DFSRSH has allowed me to revisit and extend my knowledge base further, helping me to pass the Online Theory Assessment (OTA) within the DFRSH already!

In general practice I see any presenting medical issue, so I have already been exposed to needs such as contraception and menopause management. These connect general practice to the specialist knowledge I am developing within the DFSRH and my SRH post in general. The flexibility of the PA role means primary care benefits from a clinician developing in SRH. It also means that I can use my generalist medical knowledge to adapt my role to both service needs and my interests.

Ultimately, a PA in SRH permanently is a pioneering development; the true benefits of the role will come with time and development. However, the connection between sexual health and general practice is proving a perfect fit for the flexible, medical generalist that is a PA.

Looking to the future

The DFSRH is vital in helping me evolve, to meet the SRH needs of people in both specialist and primary care settings.

My teams have lots of plans for the future of the PA role, but optimal impact on service needs and patient care will be evident mostly from the welcoming, forward-thinking attitude that both the FSRH and my team have demonstrated. It drives the PA role to flourish even further.

I look forward to sharing the PA impact in SRH more in the near future. For now, I continue developing in parallel with the DFSRH. I would encourage all PAs in primary care to consider the DFSRH to develop their contraceptive consultations. It is proving useful already! Watch this space for all things PA in SRH…exciting times ahead.

Applications for our FSRH Diploma (DFSRH) are now open. Find out more about our redesigned curriculum and how you can apply.