The Royal College of Physicians has responded to the BMA’s call to halt recruitment of medical associate professions (MAPs). This comes after BMA’s UK council passed a motion calling for a moratorium on the grounds of patient safety, pausing until the government and NHS put guarantees in place that MAPs are properly regulated and supervised.
Dr Sarah Clarke, president of the Royal College of Physicians, said:
“The BMA highlights that physician associates (PAs) play an important part in the care of patients as members of the multi-disciplinary healthcare team. Its call today (16.11.23) reflects concerns among some doctors, including about regulation and scope of practice. We must all acknowledge these concerns and we are hugely disappointed at the slow pace of regulation for a profession that is now over 20 years old in the UK.
“Both qualified and aspiring PAs will find today’s announcement unsettling. We need to work together, the NHS and medical community, to create a better understanding of the PA role and ensure appropriate supervision. Regulation to ensure safe practice cannot wait."
Following the recent government reshuffle, the RCP welcomed the new secretary of state for health and social care, Victoria Atkins MP, urging government to maintain its commitment to lay legislation on Anaesthesia Associates and Physician Associates regulation by the end of 2023 as planned.
The Department for Health and Social Care (DHSC) reiterated plans to introduce legislation to bring physician associates and anaesthesia associates into regulation by the end of 2023 and for them to be regulated by the GMC by the end of the following year in its Regulating anaesthesia associates and physician associates consultation published in May of this year. DHSC has also recently published a factsheet to give clarity on the MAPs role.