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The RCP recently held an extraordinary general meeting (EGM) to discuss physician associates. The EGM was held virtually and in the RCP at Regent’s Park building with around 100 doctors in attendance. It is only the third EGM that the RCP has ever held in its 500-year history. The EGM was called to debate the issue of physician associates and their role, scope of practice, and supervision, as well as regulation, expansion of the PA profession and other matters.

At the EGM, the RCP shared the initial findings from a membership survey carried out in February. The data were not released in full, but the RCP claimed there was strong support from colleagues for physician associates. The RCP highlighted that Doctors who have experience working alongside PAs were significantly more likely to view their role positively and see them as valuable members of the medical team (MDT), according to the survey.

However, there was controversy across social media, about the way data were shared with the EGM. The main criticism around the survey is that the college did not present the full data and shared the results by grouping together ‘neutral’ and ‘positive’ responses to the impact of PAs.

After pressure from its members, which the college described as ‘huge strength of feeling’, the leadership team published the survey results in full on Monday.

Resignations from the RCP

  • Professor Cathryn Edwards has confirmed her resignation as the registrar of the RCP to come in May 2024, as planned prior to the results of the EGM being published. She was the first woman to hold the post in over 500 years.
  • Professor Jamie Read, the deputy registrar for the College and Trustee Councillor, has also resigned with immediate effect, to pursue a new senior leadership position.
  • Two other doctors have resigned from their positions on RCP journal advisory boards due to concerns about the college’s ‘trajectory’, and a college officer has ‘stepped down’.

After the EGM, voting on the five motions by RCP Fellows has now closed, with the RCP expected to share the results soon.

There are likely to be elections to the vacant positions on the RCP Council in due course, which may be an opportunity for those with strongly held beliefs about physician associates to step-up.

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