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Unique physicians associate course at Ulster University aims to meet the future skills needs of the healthcare sector

Ulster University has created Northern Ireland’s first ever Physician Associate Postgraduate Diploma course to meet growing healthcare sector demands.

A new course created by Ulster University earlier this year is experiencing high demand, which the University believes demonstrates the need for further investment in the education and training of a new workforce to support doctors in the delivery of consistent, high quality patient care.

Ulster University’s newly created Physician Associate Postgraduate Diploma course provides intensive clinical medicine and evidence-based teaching coupled with hands-on training. It was introduced to address the current and future need for generalist medical skills and the essential broader workforce requirements.

Physician Associates work under the supervision of doctors and alongside other healthcare professionals. They deliver care to patients in a variety of environments including hospitals, GP practices and community health services to assess, diagnose and manage common and important medical conditions, and reduce pressure on medical staff.

Director of Ulster University’s Biomedical Sciences Research Institute, Professor Tara Moore, who has been responsible for driving forward the Physician Associate initiative for Northern Ireland, commented:

“Physician Associates provide improved patient access to medical services. Demand for this unique course has been high with student places filling quickly. This is due in part to the excellent career prospects for Physician Associate graduates and the fact that this cohort will go on to become the very first Physician Associates in general practice and NHS Trusts in Northern Ireland.

“Northern Ireland is leading the way in developing a Health and social Care Service fit for the 21st Century. The recent publication of the Bengoa Report and the Health Minister’s Health and Wellbeing 2026 vision clearly support the role of the Physician Associate in the HSC workforce. These individuals with their generalist medical skills set will be essential members of the Healthcare workforce moving forward.

“With teaching informed by world-leading research, Ulster University is constantly revising its educational course provision to ensure it meets the current and future demands of key sectors. Healthcare is no exception and as one of the UK’s leading biomedical research institutions, Ulster University is exceptionally well placed to deliver cutting edge, workforce driven courses across the entire medical sphere.”

The Physician Associate postgraduate diploma is one example of Ulster University’s contribution to providing permanent solutions to the ever-growing pressures in healthcare.

The Physician Associates postgraduate diploma is designed to equip students with the skills and knowledge required to support doctors in the assessment, diagnosis and management of patients and is delivered in partnership with Health and Social Care (HSC) Trusts and the Department of Health in Northern Ireland - both of which have been, and continue to be, instrumental in supporting the establishment of the Physician Associate within Northern Ireland.

Further details on Ulster University’s Physician Associate Postgraduate Diploma course and details on how to apply are available from Professor Tara Moore on 028 7012 4577 or email t.moore@ulster.ac.uk or s.shirley@ulster.ac.uk