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PAs: your profession needs you!

Dear PA,

I am appealing to you from the bottom of my heart. And no, not for money. But for support. And not for me, but for your profession. Who am I to write to you? Well, I am one of the people who wrote your favourite document: the original Competence and Curriculum Framework. I led the Birmingham PA course. I was the Senior examiner for the national PA exam (and yes, pushed hard for PAs to have the first national knowledge and skills exam for clinicians in the UK!).

So, this profession matters to me.

But not so much as it matters to you!

You would have to be a castaway on a desert island not to know that PAs are under attack. We also all know that anti-PA publicity has hit the print, broadcast and social media (perhaps it should be called antisocial media). This seems more than coincidental, and the media storm has been unpleasant, I am sure many PAs have individually been impacted and even bullied.

But, it’s time to fight back

Indeed it is essential we all (and by we I mean all of us who are part of the PA community: so not only PAs themselves but PA educators, colleagues, friends and indeed family members).

We need to mobilise

We need to lobby

We need to ensure the profession’s voice is heard: in the media, in Parliament, at the GMC, the BMA, wherever the future of the PA profession may be being considered. Because if the pro-PA voice isn’t heard, then the future of the profession is in danger.

Because we know that PAs have a lot to offer to patients, to doctors and to the wider team.

  • PAs offer generalism to the specialist team
  • PAs offer continuity in the churning medical team as junior doctors in training continually arrive, settle in, and move on again
  • PAs offer long-term continuity and flexibility for GP and hospital teams
  • PAs offer a satisfying route into medicine for those who enter late to a medical career or who don’t want to be ‘in charge’, and are happy to work with and for doctors as team members, not team leaders

So, write, lobby, make a loud loud noise.

Find out how to get in contact with your local MP here.

How many doctors do you personally know and have worked with? Get them ALL, to write to their MP.

Talk to and lobby your physician colleagues especially those who are members or fellows of RCP London as there is an extraordinary general meeting on 13th March 2024 to discuss the RCP’s support of the PA profession. Only Fellows have the vote. The meeting is both in person and virtual. Lobby and persuade your physician colleagues (those you work with now and those you know from the past) to attend if they can, to speak on PAs’ behalf, and to vote on PAs’ behalf. There is also a survey of RCP members: which again encourages physician colleagues to respond.

What have I done you may ask? Well, I have lobbied (i.e. wrote to and met with my MP, who is the Shadow Minister for Primary Care), written to the Shadow Secretary of State for Health, lobbied the House of Lords, and contacted all the physicians and other doctors that I know who I believe will be supportive. I have done all I can.

Now it’s your turn


Professor Jim Parle
Emeritus professor of primary care; former senior examiner for the PA national examination. University of Birmingham

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