Skip to main content

The British Society of Gastroenterology (BSG) released a statement in an apparent dismissal of recent “limitations” proposed for Physician Associates (PAs) by the British Medical Association (BMA). The BMA, a union for doctors, released a document advocating for a stricter scope of practice for PAs, including a complete ban on endoscopy procedures.

The BSG, a multidisciplinary organization focused on gastroenterology, strongly disagrees with this stance. They highlight the rigorous training provided by the Joint Advisory Group (JAG) on Gastrointestinal Endoscopy, ensuring PAs are qualified to perform endoscopies safely.

“JAG-accredited endoscopy training in the UK is one of the highest quality and most regulated endoscopy training programmes internationally,” states the BSG.

The BSG emphasizes the importance of PAs in addressing the current workforce shortage within the NHS. They point to the successful integration of Clinical Endoscopists, primarily nurses, who have significantly contributed to both patient care and endoscopy training.

BSG further highlight the BMA is a trade union for doctors and medical students (essentially implying that they do not represent the interests of PAs), and that they did not consult BSG before releasing their scope of practice document.

Internal discussions within the BSG, including trainee representation, revealed overwhelming support for including PAs in the workforce. However, the BSG acknowledges the need for proper supervision and ensuring PAs don’t hinder training opportunities for doctors.

“We understand that there are legitimate concerns as to how PAs have been deployed or supervised in some clinical areas,” says Andy Veitch, President of the BSG. “We will work to ensure that PAs are incorporated safely within our speciality to enhance patient care.”

The BSG intends to collaborate with other organizations to develop clear guidelines for PA practice in gastroenterology, ensuring patient safety and a well-functioning healthcare system.

Leave a Reply