The Competence Framework for Physician Associates in Mental Health

Welcome to the competence framework and curriculum for mental health physician associates. This site gives open access to the framework, curriculum and supporting document. 

Physician associates are medically trained, generalist healthcare professionals who work alongside doctors and provide medical care as an integral part of the multidisciplinary team. Physician associates are dependent practitioners working with a dedicated medical supervisor, but are able to work autonomously with appropriate support.
The framework was commissioned by the Royal College of Psychiatrists in order to identify a training route for Mental Health Physician Associates. It was developed in partnership with the National Collaborating Centre for Mental Health, which is a collaboration between the Royal College of Psychiatrists and University College London.

Although the primary audience for this work will be health workers, trainers and supervisors, and clinical managers and commissioners of services, the framework will also be useful for service users because it sets out what can be expected from a well-trained mental health physician associate.

The documents

It is important to start by reading the supporting document, which explains the role of mental health physician associates and the scope of their work, details how the competence framework was developed and includes a guide to the framework's content.

Physician Associates in Mental Health Competence Framework - Supporting document - cover image

The competences

The competences are grouped in seven domains, as shown on the map below. There are three ways of accessing the competences: from the interactive map, by domain (seven PDFs) or the full competence listings (a single PDF).

1) From the interactive map

You can download a PDF of each domain from the map of competences, which you can access by clicking the image below. 

The map sets out the structure of the framework and shows how the competences relate to each other. Placing the cursor over any of the boxes in the map takes you to the relevant competences.

2) From links to each  domain of competences (PDFs)

To access all of the competences grouped by domain, available as individual PDFs, you can view and download them below:

3) As a single document (PDF)

To view and download the full listings of the competences, which you can navigate from the Contents page, click below:

Physician Associates in Mental Health Competence Framework - full listings cover image black border

The curriculum

The curriculum for mental health physician associates is divided into six modules, each of which is closely mapped to the structure and content of the competence framework (the latter providing a detailed account of the knowledge and skills associated with each module).

Physician Associates in Mental Health Competence Framework - Curriculum - cover image

Read more to receive further information regarding a career in psychiatry