In October 2017, the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) sought views on the regulation of four medical associate professions (MAP) roles in the UK.
One of the key aims of the consultation was to establish views on the most appropriate levels of regulation for each of the four MAPs roles: physician associates, anaesthesia associates, surgical care practitioners, and advanced critical care practitioners.
We worked with employers to understand how these professionals currently contribute to the workforce, their potential in the future, as well as what employers deem to be the appropriate scope of practice and levels of regulation for each role in this group.
Our response on behalf of employers is available on our website
Following the consultation, DHSC has announced it will proceed with the statutory regulation of anaesthesia associates and physician associates. The General Medical Council (GMC) has been deemed best placed to regulate AAs and PAs, and were invited to carry out this function in July 2019. The process will take some time. NHS Employers will continue to keep you updated on developments.
We welcome this news and fully support the regulation of these roles. It will provide a standardised framework of governance and assurance for clinical practice and professional conduct to enable these healthcare professionals to make a greater contribution to patient care.
In the meantime, anaesthesia associates and physician associates are able to apply for inclusion on managed voluntary registers held by the Royal College of Anaesthetists and the Royal College of Physicians respectively.
Although we acknowledge the benefits of voluntary registration for practitioners, patients and employers, it is also worth noting that where there are restrictions to gaining access to a managed voluntary register (such as requiring paid membership of a professional body). Employers may not be able to ask for voluntary registration as an essential pre-requisite for employment.