The RCP has responded to calls from some in its membership to hold an extraordinary general meeting about physician associates.
An extraordinary general meeting, commonly abbreviated as EGM, is a meeting of members of the Royal College that occurs at an irregular time – not in one of the usually scheduled meetings.
The Royal College of Anaesthetists held an EGM in October 2023, to debate six motions, three of which were directly connected to anaesthesia associates. All six motions debated at that AGM passed with overwhelming majorities, including a resolution to ask for a pause to recruitment of anaesthesia associates.
The RCP Council meets six times a year; the request for an EGM was received the day before the final meeting of 2023, and therefore the decision was taken to consider the need for an EGM at the January 2024 meeting.
The RCP, which has hosted the Faculty of Physician Associates since 2015, issued a consensus statement last year, in which they reiterated their support for the physician associate role as part of the multidisciplinary healthcare team.
A RCP statement released in January 2024 reiteraete their support for the PA profession: “Everybody working in the NHS has an important role to play. We recognise that more clarity is needed on the scope of practice, supervision and career development of PAs, and have established several working groups with broad membership to consider the detail of this work. We intend to publish new, additional guidance in the next three months.
“The RCP is a leading voice in discussions with NHS England, the GMC, NHS Employers and the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges. We are working together to ensure that patient safety and good clinical practice and outcomes are central to the process of physician associates becoming a regulated profession.”
The RCP Council will discuss the request for an extra-ordinary general meeting (EGM) and associated motions at its next meeting on 25th January 2024. A formal response to the request for an EGM, accompanied by a public statement will be issued following the RCP Council meeting in January 2024.
The Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh recently also released a position statement on physician associates