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, physicians’ assistants (anaesthesia), 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 physicians’ assistants (anaesthesia) and physician associates.
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, physician assistants 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.