RCP Council will discuss the request for an extra-ordinary general meeting (EGM) and associated motions on 25 January 2024.
In November 2023 we published a consensus statement (see full version download below) in which we reiterated our support for the physician associate role as part of the multidisciplinary healthcare team. This statement is guiding all our work in this area.
We know that many RCP fellows and members feel passionately about this subject, which is why it’s so important that we encourage maximum engagement from Council members. Council meets six times a year; the request for an EGM was received the day before our final meeting of 2023, and therefore the decision was taken to debate the motion at our January meeting.
The RCP recognises that this timeline for an EGM is frustrating for some, particularly with parliamentary processes to regulate medical associate professionals now underway. The role of physician associates has been discussed at length during the last three full RCP Council meetings of 2023.
Everybody working in the NHS has an important role to play. We recognise that more clarity is needed on the scope of practice, supervision and career development of PAs, and have established several working groups with broad membership to consider the detail of this work. We intend to publish new, additional guidance in the next three months.
The RCP is a leading voice in discussions with NHS England, the GMC, NHS Employers and the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges. We are working together to ensure that patient safety and good clinical practice and outcomes are central to the process of physician associates becoming a regulated profession.
Ultimately, the RCP must act according to its byelaws (see download below). A formal response to the request for an EGM, accompanied by a public statement will be issued following the RCP Council meeting in January 2024.
- There are currently over 375,000 doctors registered in the UK.
- It is estimated that over 4,000 physician associates are working across the UK.
- The NHS England long term workforce plan (LTWP) commits to 15,000 annual medical school places by 2031/32.
- By 2036/7, the LTWP commits to a workforce of 10,000 physician associates, with over 1,500 annual training places by 2031/32.