Mon. Jun 17th, 2024

The head of the General Medical Council (GMC), Charles Massey, has written to the Royal College of Physicians (RCP) expressing concern about a proposal to close the Physician Associate Managed Voluntary Register (MVR) to new members.

According to a letter circulating on Reddit, which has not been verified by The PA+PER, the letter from the GMC warns of the risk of the RCP closing the PA manager voluntary register.

The letter, addressed to Dr. Sarah Clarke, President of the RCP, follows a recommendation made by a working group established after an extraordinary general meeting in March 2024.

Massey argues that closing the register just six months before the GMC is due to take over statutory regulation of physician associates (PAs) would have a significant impact on newly qualified PAs and potentially compromise patient safety.

Currently, PAs can only join the MVR after completing postgraduate studies and passing the PANE, a two-part exam set by the RCP. Massey highlights the potential hardship for those who qualify and pass the exam in the coming months, as most employers require MVR registration.

He further expresses concern that this could discourage PAs from taking the PANE altogether, or lead them to seek employment in less regulated environments, putting patients at risk.

Massey emphasizes the importance of the MVR’s professional standards, enforced by the FPA and RCP, which newly qualified PAs would miss out on if the register closes.

Additionally, the GMC’s ability to efficiently register PAs in December would be hampered by a lack of pre-verified MVR data. This could lead to delays and potentially more PAs working unsupervised for a longer period.

Massey concludes by urging the RCP to reconsider its position and collaborate with the GMC to ensure a smooth transition for PAs to the new regulatory framework.

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