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In July 2019, the Department of Health and Social Care asked the GMC to regulate physician associates (PAs) and anaesthesia associates (AAs). Opinion on these roles continues to be divided. Are these professions undervalued and unfairly undermined, or do these titles cause confusion and/or create the potential for risk? CSJ wants your views…

The GMC says that it recognises the important role PAs and AAs professionals play in the medical workforce and believes that regulation will help to increase the contribution they can make to UK healthcare, while keeping patients safe. The GMC must be ready to regulate PAs and AAs by the end of 2024.

However, there are a range of views within the medical community. The Royal Colleges view the roles as valuable; they support regulation of the professions and want to see standardisation around the scope of practice, training standards, and assessment for the roles. They are supportive of their contribution within surgical teams but see a need to proceed cautiously in relation to expansion of numbers.

The British Medical Association has been highly critical, however, stating that “Their use and planned expansion challenges what it means to be a doctor, reflects how the medical profession has been devalued, and demonstrates how the health system is seeking to undermine it in favour of colleagues with less training, skills and expertise.”

A study published by the National Institute of Health and Care Research in 2019 found that PAs positively contributed to the medical and surgical team, patient experience and flow, and to supporting the clinical teams' workload, and have potential to add further with an expansion of their role. (View the study at: https://doi.org/10.3310/hsdr07190)

We want to hear your views…

Please take part in our brief, anonymous survey by clicking here.  

We plan to share the results with our readers in the May edition of CSJ...

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