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Extraordinary general meeting (EGM) information pack circulated to fellows

The EGM online invitation has been circulated to RCP fellows today by Civica Election Services (CES) who are supporting the meeting. This includes a link to the information pack including the agenda, motions for debate and details of the post meeting ballot.  

The meeting will take place on Wednesday 13 March with full access for RCP fellows and viewing permission for subscribing UK doctor members. How fellows can join the meeting in person is also in the pack, alongside the process for submitting questions in advance. Fellows and members can access the pack behind the login.  

Results from the survey of subscribing UK doctor members, which is also being managed by CES and open until 5pm today, will be shared at the meeting.

The motions are:

1. Scope of practice

Physician associates are not doctors. They should not be regarded as replacements for doctors, and they should never replace a doctor on a rota. They are valued healthcare professionals who participate in patient care in addition to the rest of the wider multi-disciplinary team.  

2. Accountability

This EGM notes the current legal restrictions on who can prescribe medication or request ionising radiation and reminds all medically qualified membership categories of the College that they remain responsible for any such decisions by others that they may be asked to endorse.

3. Evaluation

This EGM calls on the RCP to contribute actively to generating an evidence base and evaluation framework around the introduction of PAs, addressing (for example) clinical outcomes, cost effectiveness, safety, the patient experience, staff wellbeing and interrelationships, and implications for the healthcare workforce.

4. Training opportunities

This EGM calls on the RCP to explore, document and address the impact on training opportunities of doctors resulting from the introduction of PAs.

5. Caution in pace and scale of roll-out

In the initial request for this EGM, Fellows called on the RCP to pause the roll-out of PA roles. A pause is clearly not feasible given recent legislation. This EGM therefore calls on the RCP to limit the pace and scale of the roll-out until the medicolegal issues of regulation, standards and scope of practice are addressed.

Following the EGM, fellows will be invited to vote on these motions until 20 March. The results of the vote will be shared on 25 March 2024.

The consensus statement makes clear the RCP’s position on physician associates. RCP Council is supportive of PAs but is clear that they are not a replacement for doctors; rather, they are supplementary members of the multidisciplinary team. The RCP is determined to use all the levers we have to improve NHS working environments, the design and delivery of training, and the retention of all doctors. 

On Monday the House of Lords passed legislation to bring the physician associate (PA) profession into regulation. Now that both Houses of Parliament, as well as the Scottish Parliament, have approved this Order, it can be made law. You can read the RCP response here.

For further information about the EGM visit the FAQs.