Mon. Jun 17th, 2024

The NHS has released a summary of existing guidance for Physician Associates.
A key aspect of the guidance focuses on controlled access to electronic patient care records.

Each GP practice or NHS trust that employs PAs will be required to establish a comprehensive policy outlining access permissions for different professional groups. This includes specifying access to prescribing activities (such as recommending medication, viewing current prescriptions, but certainly not allowing PAs to prescribe!), having access to test results, referrals, and clinical notes.

Importantly, the policy should prevent clinicians from undertaking tasks beyond their designated scope of practice.
A reminder – PAs are not allowed to prescribe or order ionising radiation.

The guidance also emphasizes the need to clearly document any new qualifications or capabilities acquired by PAs. This transparency ensures patients and colleagues understand the expanded skillset these professionals bring to the table.

Furthermore, established procedures must be in place for reporting concerns about staff exceeding their scope of practice, demonstrating unprofessional conduct, or causing alarm. The local employer’s leadership is responsible for ensuring clear communication of these reporting processes and fostering an environment where staff and patients feel comfortable raising concerns. Any reported issues will be investigated, and appropriate actions will be taken.

This formalized approach to deploying MAPs strengthens the NHS workforce by ensuring their safe and effective integration into patient care teams.

NHS England recognises that there is more to do to develop the role of MAPs and ensure these committed professionals are properly supported and working to a respected scope of practice.

The GMC is currently consulting on the regulation of PAs and AAs and although we await the outcome of the GMC’s consultation, NHS England will review this guidance in light of the GMC’s consultation.

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