Mon. Jul 22nd, 2024

The Royal College of Physicians (RCP) is experiencing a crisis in leadership as over eighty fellows have voiced dissatisfaction with the way the college has handled the physician associate (PA) profession, according to PULSE.

Adding to the pressure, five senior college officers have added to the pressure by requesting in a separate letter that RCP president Dr. Sarah Clarke leave. Fearing that Dr. Clarke had “lost the confidence of the RCP membership” and the consequent harm to the college, they voiced their concerns in an open letter.

The letter claims that this is a crucial time and the college needs a leader who can “advocate fiercely for physicians.” It is signed by notable individuals such as vice president for education and training Dr. Mumtaz Patel and RCP treasurer Professor Simon Bowman.

This follows an extraordinary general meeting of the RCP to debate the issue of physician associates, which saw the RCP adopt a policy of a limit in the pace and scale of the roll-out of physician associates.

The fellows’ current concerns are “delays to implementation” of the policy and the leadership’s seeming “in principle” rather than “fully” acceptance of their opinions.

The fellows stressed in a statement the significance of the policies set by the member vote, which they feel endangers patient safety.

They further warned that the college’s reputation and influence are at risk if “failure to take action now” persists. The leadership would be failing “patients and the profession” by not swiftly and comprehensively addressing the motions passed by the fellows, according to the statement.

The officers’ letter and the fellows’ declaration have been acknowledged by the RCP, which says they take these issues “extremely seriously.” In order to resolve the situation, urgent meetings are being scheduled.

This comes after the college announced an independent governance inquiry and earlier apologised for how it handled the PA controversy. In the past, Dr. Clarke acknowledged that the organisation needed to “reset the organisation” and regain members’ trust.

The Faculty of Physician Associates, which is hosted by the Royal College of Physicians, is also facing a crisis of leadership after the resignation of several board members earlier this month.

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