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Joint response on physician associate regulation consultation

The presidents of the Royal College of Physicians (RCP) and the Faculty of Physician Associates (FPA), have responded to the opening of a consultation on the regulation of physician associates.

The consultation has been announced today by the secretary of state for health, Jeremy Hunt.

Professor Jane Dacre, president of the RCP, commented: 

The RCP has called for regulation of physician associates for years and we warmly welcome this positive step from the Department of Health on the road towards introducing statutory regulation of physician associates. 
We believe regulation is required in order to ensure and enhance patient safety, and to make the most of the talents and skills that physician associates bring to the teams in which they work. 
The RCP will be responding to the consultation recommending that the government introduce statutory regulation for physician associates, and will be encouraging our members and fellows to do the same.

Jeannie Watkins, president of the FPA, added: 

We are delighted with the announcement from the secretary of state for health today that the Department of Health is opening a consultation on the regulation of physician associates. 

Put simply, regulation will provide a legally accountable framework for patient safety, the setting of standards and ensuring fitness to practise. While this is currently overseen by the FPA through the Physician Associate Managed Voluntary Register (PAMVR), such matters cannot be legally enforced without statutory regulation.

Introducing regulation will enable physician associates to work to the full scope of the role, easing the workload burden on the medical team, and supporting doctors in the provision of high-quality care to patients.

We will be encouraging all of our members, the physician associate profession and those working with physician associates to respond positively to the consultation calling for the regulation of the profession.

Notes to editors

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About the FPA 

The Faculty of Physician Associates (FPA) provides professional support to physician associates across the UK. FPA members are part of a professional membership body campaigning for progress and change in the profession, advising government, and taking part in national debates on medical, clinical and public health issues.

The FPA reviews and sets standards for:

  • the education and training of physician associates
  • accreditation of university programmes and
  • physician associate national certification and recertification examinations.

It also provides support to both qualified and student physician associates in their education, training and professional development, giving members access to a benefits package that includes a CPD diary, publications, library resources, and discounts on professional development courses and events.

The FPA oversees and administers the running of the Physician Associate Managed Voluntary Register (PAMVR) and is campaigning to achieve statutory regulationof the profession.