Controversies surrounding PA and AA roles

Kate Woodhead RGN DMS discusses the ongoing debate around the roles of Physician and Anaesthesia Associates, in the lead up to the GMC’s plans for regulation.

The roles of medical associate professions (MAPs) are once again under the spotlight. There have been a number of consultations carried out by the Department of Health and Social Care together with consequent communications and agreement with the devolved nations regarding the regulation of health and social care professions. A law was passed earlier this year identifying two specific professional groups, the Physician Associates (PAs) and the Anaesthesia Associates (AAs), citing plans for their imminent formal regulation.

Currently, they are only required to be on an appropriate voluntary register managed by the Royal College of Physicians or the Royal College of Anaesthetists respectively. This is set to change in December 2024 and the General Medical Council (GMC) will take the lead setting up a new registration process for both specialist groups, which will become mandatory after a two-year transition period. This debate and new parliamentary order have set the cat among the pigeons, although everyone seems to agree that, in the interests of patient safety, formal regulation is necessary and indeed long overdue.

The most vocal groups dissenting, have been the BMA and the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCoGP) who state that the GMC is not the appropriate body to be regulating the groups, but it should rather be the Health and Care Professions Council. The RCoGP recently raised significant concerns that Physician Associate regulation by the GMC could increase the confusion among patients about the differences between doctors and Physician Associates.1 They also are concerned about the capacity of senior GPs to supervise the learning of new and potential Physician Associates, as well as the resources to fund their training, induction and supervision overall.

Log in or register FREE to read the rest

This story is Premium Content and is only available to registered users. Please log in at the top of the page to view the full text. If you don't already have an account, please register with us completely free of charge.

Latest Issues

AfPP Annual Conference 2024

University of Warwick
2nd - 3rd August 2024

The Operating Theatres North Show 2024

Etihad Stadium, Manchester
12th September 2024

The AfPP Roadshow - London

Cavendish Conference Centre, London
14th September 2024

Infection Prevention 2024

ICC Birmingham
23rd - 25th September 2024

Future Surgery

ExCeL London
1st - 2nd October 2024