Mon. Jul 22nd, 2024

Today marks the next step on the journey for GMC regulation of the physician associate profession. But what exactly has just happened? 

Lat year, the government released the outcome of the public consultation on ‘Regulating anaesthesia associates and physician associates’. The FPA and the Royal College of Physicians (RCP) responded to the consultation last year.

The Anaesthesia Associates and Physician Associates Order (AAPAO) 2024 was laid before both the House of Commons and House of Lords in December 2023. Known as a draft affirmative statutory instrument, the AAPAO 2024 was then referred on to a ‘Delegated Legislation Committee’ for debate on Wednesday 17th January 2024.

The draft AAPAO 2024 was debated by the Sixth Delegated Legislation Committee (DLC). Following today’s debate in Westminster, and a similar debate in the Scottish Parliament yesterday in Edinburgh, the AAPA Order 2024 continues through the legislative process.

These committees have 16-18 members. Committees consider policy issues, scrutinise government work, expenditure, and examine proposals for primary and secondary legislation.  

Any MP can attend and speak but only specified members of the DLC can vote. A DLC considers an SI but does not have the power to stop it.  
Once the SI has been debated by the committee, it needs final approval by the Commons before being ‘made’ (signed by the Minister) and becoming law. 
It is very rare for an affirmative SI to not receive Commons approval, the last one which failed to do so was in July 1978. 

There will be further parliamentary processes including a debate in the House of Lords, scheduled to take place on 6 February 2024.

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