Mon. Jul 22nd, 2024

Last week, NHS England reiterated its position on employing PAs, confirming ‘PAs are not a substitute for doctors; they are trained to work collaboratively with other health professionals as supplementary members of a multidisciplinary team.

RCP president Dr Sarah Clarke also commented that ‘PAs are not a replacement for doctors, and this statement from NHS England reiterates the fact that PAs are not doctors and cannot and must not replace doctors.’

PAs must always work within a defined scope of competence, supervised by doctors, and employers must ensure that the supervision of PAs is never to the detriment of the training, education, and supervision of doctors, Dr Clarke stated.

“The RCP is working with the Faculty of Physician Associates (FPA) to develop additional guidance on the scope and supervision of physician associates. Our consensus statement recognises that there are some issues to be resolved and we are working with our multiprofessional working group to develop this guidance as a matter of urgency.”

Dr Sarah Clarke, RCP President

Dr Clarke added: “Now more than ever, we need regulation of the physician associate role, which will establish reporting mechanisms that protect patients from harm. There is a role for PAs in the modern NHS as a regulated profession supported by clear guidance on their scope of practice and supervision, collaborating with the wider team to provide excellence in patient care.”

The FPA, within the RCP, has been calling for regulation since its inception in 2015.

In 2019 it was confirmed that the General Medical Council would be the regulatory body for PAs once the Anaesthesia Associates and Physician Associates Order 2024 is signed into law. The Order is due for debate in the House of Lords on 26th February 2024.

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