Mon. Jul 22nd, 2024

The General Medical Council (GMC) has announced key details regarding the upcoming regulation of Physician Associates.

PAs will be issued a unique reference number for identification purposes. These numbers will be similar to those used for doctors, but will include a capital letter “A” prefix to clearly differentiate PAs & AAs from medical doctors. The ‘A’ represents the title- Associate, as existing prefixes, such as PA, are already in use for Paramedics on the HCPC.

Additionally, the GMC register will prominently display a badge next to each PA’s or AA’s entry, alongside the existing badges they use for Doctors on the register ensuring transparency for patients seeking information about their caregivers.

GP register (GP)
Specialist Register (SR)
Associate (A) – PAs & AAs

The GMC emphasises the importance of patient awareness of the PA role, and is committed to gathering further feedback through a consultation process. A public consultation, expected to begin this spring, will focus on the rules, standards, and guidance that will govern PA & AA practice under GMC regulation.
Dame Carrie MacEwen, GMC Chair, highlights the importance of respectful dialogue during this transition, urging doctors to engage constructively in both online and offline discussions.

The BMA – the union for doctors – has already weighed in on the debate, proposing a defined scope of practice for PAs –See our article here.

The GMC’s plans aim to establish a clear and transparent system for PA identification and practice, ultimately fostering public trust and ensuring the safe integration of PAs within the healthcare team.
This move is generally welcomed by PAs, as it showcases their unique skills and qualifications to be welcomed onto the GMC register, rather than becoming lost amongst the numerous other 7-digit-numbers-only formats currently in use.

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