Latest News

Staffordshire Physician Associate Internship – International Forum, Copenhagen, April 2020

Our unique Staffordshire Physician Associate Internship programme continues in the International spotlight.

Our key findings from the evaluation of the Staffordshire Physician Associate Internship have been accepted for a poster presentation at the International Forum on Quality and Safety in Healthcare in Copenhagen in April 2020. 

Dr Lizzie Cottrell, a local GP at Wolstanton Medical Centre and the lead evaluator, is delighted as this is an important and hot topic in primary care at the moment.  Physician Associates are not as established in some parts of Europe, so it is excellent to spread the news internationally about what we are learning about Physician Associates in primary care and to keep the successful Staffordshire Physician Associate Internship programme in the spotlight.

Physician Associates in Primary Care Conference

On the 13th June 2019, Howbeck Healthcare supported the first Physician Associate in Primary Care Conference at Keele Hall.

We had over 80 delegates attend both locally and nationally, ranging from GPs, Physician Associates, Practice Managers and senior managers from NHS England and HEE.

Pictured from the left: Elita Unyolo, PA; Alex Strivens-Joyce, PA & PA Ambassador; Lucy Minshull, Project Manager – Howbeck Healthcare; Karen Roberts, Guest Speaker, PA & Course Director at St George’s in London; Dr Sharon Turner, Clinical Lead and Dr Elizabeth Cottrell, NIHR Academic Clinical Lecturer from Keele University

The conference was very eventful. We were able to share and promote Physician Associates (PAs) playing a new and exciting role in supporting general practice along with having the PAs who have completed our pioneering Staffordshire Physician Associate Internship speaking on how they are supporting and working within general practice. The Staffordshire Physician Associate Internship has supported over 22 PAs on the programme.

We were able to highlight that the majority of PAs who had completed our internship have all been retained and are working full time in general practice. 98% of those delegates in attendance asked for a similar conference next year with further emphasis on presentations / workshops and networking. Watch this space!


“thanks for a great conference – spot on in terms of what I needed to know. Well worth the 4.5 hours in the car!”

“I feel this type of conference should be done again to help support the PA internship – a great afternoon with lots of useful info mentioned”

 “Great to hear both the GP/PA talks describing exactly how the role works in practice and what sort of tasks they do on a daily basis and how the PAs are developed as part of  primary care”

Updated Federation price list for Banner UK – all your stationary supplies at a reduced cost.

Staffordshire Physician Associate Internship Programme shortlisted for ‘Primary Care Initiative of the Year’ HSJ award!

We are delighted to announce that the Staffordshire Physician Associate Internship Programme has been shortlisted for ‘Primary Care Initiative of the Year’ for the 2019 HSJ awards.

The Staffordshire Physician Associate Internship Programme is a locally developed internship for Physician Associates (PA) work across primary and secondary care, to determine whether a new model of workforce and skill mix is both sustainable and clinically effective.

This programme was developed to appoint 24 Physician Associates (PAs) offering a 1-year internship working across primary and secondary to offer solutions to the local and national GP workforce issues and to offer the best patient care across Staffordshire.   To date 22 PAs have been recruited over a 15-month timescale.

For more information please visit the Staffordshire Physician Associate Internship Programme page.

Supporting GP Recruitment - BMJ Advertising Campaign

The GP Federation in collaboration with the CCG have been working with the BMJ to promote our local area of North Staffordshire with an overarching advert and an exceptional short video of our culture, heritage and our local GPs.


The CCG have negotiated a significantly reduced cost to the overall BMJ advertising campaign from an original price of £5,756 to a reduction in cost for practices of £1,080. 

In addition the Federation have agreed to support 50% towards practices to place their practice adverts at a cost of £540 (inclusive of VAT).

See our October 2018 Newsletter for full details, or if you are interested in advertising a vacancy then please liaise with Lucy Minshull at, with your practice advert and an agreement that your practice will fund the 50% costs of £540, along with an indication of when you would like your advert to commence in the BMJ.

You can view the short video and BMJ advert here: 

 BMJ Careers_North Staffs

BMJ Advert Oct18



Midlands Frailty Academy - 2 day training course

Midlands Frailty Academy is holding a 2-day training course on ‘improving the care and management of the Frail Older person’.  The training is fully funded and supports plans to improve the care of older people in Hospitals, Care Homes and the Community.

The training course is aimed at Nurses, Healthcare Professionals, care assistants and others who wish to enhance their knowledge and skills about conditions affecting older people and solutions.

For more information, please click here:  Frality Academy Course Flyer UHNM SEPT 2018 final.docx 25 07 2018

Competitive Rates on your Stationery from Banner UK!

Banner UK are offering Federation members competitive rates on all of your stationery and consumables.  A price list can be found here:  GP Fed latest 2018 pricelist

For further details or to place an order, contact Carl Blundred, Account Manager at Banner UK, on:

T: 0845 108 1888


M: 07795 845952 

CCG and NHS England local team Briefing on Funding of Flu Vaccines from 2018-19

Please find a link to the latest briefing from the CCG and NHS England on Funding of Flu Vaccines from 2018-19:

The RCGP announce endorsement of the Staffordshire Physician Associate Internship

Dr Sharon Turner, Director and Lucy Minshull, Project Manager, North Staffordshire GP Federation and Alex Scrivens-Joyce, HEE PA Ambassador are pleased to announce the Honorary Secretary’s office of the Royal College of General Practitioners have just endorsed the Staffordshire Physician Associate Internship.

Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent is leading the way nationally with our pioneering internship programme which is helping to support general practice and other healthcare providers.  There are nine PAs on the programme with a further eleven to commence over the coming months.

The Staffordshire Physician Associate Internship is the first initiative of its kind to offer structured placements for groups of PAs within primary and secondary care along with a structured teaching programme.

CQC Report

GMS Ready Reckoner

(General Medical Services (GMS) ready reckoner) NHS England and the General Practitioners Committee have produced a tool to calculate likely changes in income streams that may affect a GMS practice from 1 April 2018.

Pioneering Physician Associate programme going from strength to strength in Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent

Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent is leading the way nationally thanks to a pioneering internship programme which is helping to support local general practice and other healthcare providers.

The Staffordshire Physician Associate (PA) Internship is the first initiative of its kind to offer structured placements for groups of PAs within primary and secondary care along with a structured teaching programme.

The first group of PAs to have completed the programme are now working alongside local GPs and other healthcare professionals. Further cohorts of students are coming to Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent from across the country to embark on the internship.

The programme is led by the North Staffordshire GP Federation in partnership with University Hospitals of North Midlands NHS Trust. It also includes other provider NHS trusts in Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent, as well as a growing list of local GP practices.

It forms part of the Workforce Programme of Together We’re Better (STP), the partnership of NHS and local government organisations that is working to transform health and care for people locally.

Physician Associates are medically trained healthcare professionals. The internship allows PAs to spend three days a week working in general practice and the other two days as part of an acute or mental health team. Among the tasks they are qualified to carry out include performing physical examinations, seeing patients with long-term chronic conditions and providing health promotion and disease prevention advice.

As part of their internship, the PAs also receive face-to-face training courtesy of Alex Strivens-Joyce, PA Ambassador for the local area.

Alex said: “This is the only programme like this in the UK. In the relatively short time since it was launched, we now have nine Physician Associates working across Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent, with more on the way – all of whom are helping to bolster general practice, acute and mental health care locally. That’s extremely rewarding for me and a real feather in the cap for the local system here.”

Elita Unyolo is a Stoke-on-Trent-based Physician Associate who is among the current cohort of PA internees. She currently splits her week working at Royal Stoke University Hospital’s Surgical Assessment Unit and at Moorcroft Medical Centre in Hanley and Moss Green Surgery in Bentilee and praised the programme for the variety it provides.

She said: “The freedom offered by being a Physician Associate is great. Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent are at the forefront when it comes to being a PA; none of the other internships that exist provide the teaching aspect and the fact that you can work in both primary and secondary care is fantastic. PAs can offer a lot to a GP practice or other NHS healthcare provider; likewise, the teaching, training and supervision you receive in this patch is excellent.”

Dr Sharon Turner, Clinical Lead for the internship programme, said: “Demand for a place on this highly innovative programme has been considerably strong, attracting a significant proportion of the newly qualified PA workforce across the country. We are extremely proud of the programme and are delighted that it has also this week been endorsed by the Royal College of General Practitioners.”

Greg Moores, Lead for Together We’re Better’s Workforce Programme, said: “By helping to put Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent on the map in this way, the Physician Associates working on this nationally recognised programme are a great advert for our local health services and forms part of our wider programme of health and social care workforce transformation for Together We’re Better.”

Simon Whitehouse, Together We’re Better Director, said: “As part of the transformation of health and care that the Together We’re Better partnership is committed to delivering for the people of Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent, we need a highly skilled and motivated workforce. Our workforce is our biggest asset and it is really important that we look to develop a local workforce that is flexible and that meets the clinical needs of local people. This fantastic and innovative programme is helping to deliver that change by attracting Physician Associates here to support local GPs and other healthcare professionals.”