Mon. Jul 22nd, 2024

The NHS has released new guidance to ensure the safe and effective deployment of Medical Associate Professions (MAPs) within healthcare settings. This includes Physician Associates (PAs), Anaesthesia Associates (AAs), and Surgical Care Practitioners (SCPs).

This new guidance aims to strengthen the role of MAPs within the NHS by promoting safe and effective practice, ultimately benefiting patient care.

The guidance emphasizes the importance of the Core capabilities framework for medical associate professions documentation. This framework was published in 2022 by Health Education England, and outlines the essential skills, knowledge, and behaviours expected of all MAPs, promoting consistency in their development and evaluation. Additionally, Physician Associates are reminded of their professional conduct as outlined by The Faculty of Physician Associates’ Code of Conduct.

The NHS England document has confirmed physician associates have the right and responsibility to work within the agreed-upon capabilities defined by their supervising doctor. This includes accepting delegated tasks that fall within their expertise.

A crucial aspect of the NHS’s guidance is the requirement for MAPs to be supervised by a designated senior doctor. In primary care settings, the NHS confirms this supervisor must be a GMC-registered General Practitioner (GP), while in secondary care, it should be a GMC-registered consultant. The supervising doctor must oversee the MAP’s work and provide regular debriefings.

The NHS document confirms that clear job descriptions and defined roles are essential for MAPs. When considering introducing a PA role, management should consult the High Level Principles Concerning Physician Associates by the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges. Additionally, relevant guidance documents from NHS England and The Faculty of Physician Associates should be followed to ensure smooth integration into the clinical team.

The NHS document also confirms that Doctors supervising PAs, and the leadership of their employing organisation, must ensure that PAs are treated with respect and dignity at work, as with all other healthcare staff. The NHS also confirms that there must be appropriate employer policies, systems, and permissions to ensure PAs are supported, supervised and integrated into teams. The NHS says that PAs ‘should have appropriate access to high quality relevant training and development opportunities over the course of their careers in line with national standards and regulations.’

Stick with The PA+PER for further analysis of this extensive guidance document, and what it means for Physician Associates and PA students.

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