Mon. Jul 22nd, 2024

The Royal College of Physicians (RCP) recently held a meeting to discuss the growing role of Physician Associates (PAs) in healthcare. The good news? The survey results showed a strong positive response from those who have already worked with PAs!

RCP president Dr Sarah Clarke chaired a debate on five motions covering the scope of practice, accountability, evaluation, the impact on training opportunities, and the pace and scale of roll-out.

RCP fellows have now been invited to vote on the motions before the closing date of Wednesday 20 March.

The extraordinary general meeting was held virtually and in the RCP at Regent’s Park building with around 100 doctors in attendance. It is only the third EGM that the RCP has ever held in its 500-year history.

At the meeting, Deputy Registrar Professor Jamie Read shared the initial findings from a membership survey carried out in February. The data were not released in full, but the RCP claims that there is strong support from colleagues for physician associates. Doctors who have experience working alongside PAs were significantly more likely to view their role positively and see them as valuable members of the medical team (MDT), according to the survey.

The survey also highlighted a need for further education about the PA role for doctors who haven’t had the chance to work with PAs yet. According to the RCP survey, more than half of doctors currently working with PAs felt supervision practices were adequate. This demonstrates the strong working relationships being built between PAs and their supervising physicians.

The RCP is now encouraging all eligible doctors to vote on five motions related to the PA profession. Voting on the five motions closes at 7.30 pm on Wednesday 20th March. During the voting period fellows will be able to watch the EGM on demand.

The results of the fellows’ vote will be announced on 25 March. The results will then be discussed by the RCP Council at an additional meeting in April and the Board of Trustees in June, where any necessary action plans will be developed.

Our Editor-in-Chief, Alexander Reynolds provided us with the following comments – “These tentative signs of positivity coming from the EGM are encouraging, but there is still a lot of unknowns for us as a profession whilst voting happens. But one of the key findings from the data released is that as more of us work with more doctors, it seems that the value, role and recognition of PAs in the MDT quickly establishes ourselves as key members of any MDT team. I’ve always iterated that PAs themselves are our own best advocates, and this is holding true with the RCP survey results. So keep doing your thing and keep showing everyone the benefits PAs bring to the team”.

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