Mon. Jul 22nd, 2024

The Anaesthesia Associates and Physician Associates Order 2024 Passes Through the House of Lords
The Anaesthesia Associates and Physician Associates Order 2024 (AAPAO 2024) successfully passed through the House of Lords tonight on 26th February 2024.

This legislation establishes a framework for the regulation of physician associates and naesthesia associates as healthcare professionals by the General Medical Council (GMC).

The passage of the AAPAO 2024 was met with excitement and relief from Physician Associates around the UK. More than 20-years after the introduction of the PA role – and what has felt like a never-ending fight for regulation of our profession – the regulatory bill now formally recognises the PA and AA roles.

However, there have been mixed reactions from other members of the medical community. The British Medical Association had urged peers to back a ‘fatal motion’ brought by Green Party peer Baroness Bennett. The BMA even took out adverts in national newspapers prior to the vote, with an open letter calling on members of the House of Lords to reject the legislation. But it seems to have had limited impact on the outcome, as Peers in the House of Lords seemed to agree that GMC regulation is needed for PAs & AAs.

Now that the AAPAO has passed through the House of Lords, it is expected to become legislation in the coming weeks. This will allow the GMC to begin its process of setting up a register for PAs and AAs.

The AAPAO will give the GMC powers to:

  • register AAs and PAs whom it assesses to be appropriately qualified and competent,
  • set standards of practice, education, and training, as well as setting the requirements for continual professional development and the code of conduct for AAs and PAs.
  • approve AA and PA education and training programmes,
  • operate fitness-to-practice procedures, investigate concerns and, if necessary, prevent or restrict an associate from practising.

GMC registration of physician associates is scheduled to come into effect before the end of 2024.

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