11 May 2011

It is with great regret that The University of Queensland Physician Assistant Studies Program, offered through the School of Medicine will not be admitting any more students.

This was a pioneering program in Australia with the objective to train mid-level health care practitioners who would work under the delegated authority of a medical practitioner.

This decision has been taken by the School of Medicine in the light of a combination of key factors. This includes the resignation of the Program Director and the difficulty in recruiting a replacement within this field, the significant uncertainty about the future of a physician assistant workforce in Australia, and the associated financial risk.

“This was a very difficult decision for the School of Medicine to take, not least because of our commitment to health workforce development and reform, and our significant investment in developing the first physician assistant program in Australia,” said Professor David Wilkinson, Dean and Head of the School of Medicine.

“The School will ensure that current students complete their degree successfully, and we will continue to monitor the health workforce landscape in Australia carefully. If a commitment to the development of a physician assistant workforce arises, the University will give serious consideration to re-activating the program.”

The first cohort of 11 UQ Physician Assistant students will graduate in July and the 2nd cohort of 23 students will graduate next year.

Professor Wilkinson acknowledged the pioneering efforts of Mrs Karen Mulitalo, Program Director and her staff, the students, and health service partners, who helped developed the program to date.

Media: Brian Mallon, Marketing and Communication Officer, School of Medicine. Tel: 07 3365 5254/ mobile 0403621109 b.mallon@uq.edu.au