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Views And Reviews

Medical associate professionals: we need to challenge traditional hierarchy to keep patients at the centre of what we do

BMJ 2019; 365 doi: (Published 03 June 2019) Cite this as: BMJ 2019;365:l2394
  1. Natalie King, clinical lead for acute medicine
  1. Surrey and Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust, UK
  1. natalie.king4{at}

Not allowing physician associates to become senior decision makers is a waste of their expertise, says Natalie King

Having supported the physician associate (PA) role for many years, I was eager to hear the debate at the recent BMA Junior Doctors conference on the role of medical associate professionals (MAPs). At the debate on 18 May, junior doctors voted to “actively oppose” MAPs being treated equally to them when it comes to medical staffing. PAs form the majority of MAPs (there are around 1200 qualified PAs in the UK) and, with around 1000 more being trained each year, the implications of the motions carried could have a profound effect on their future.

The BMA has previously stated that three quarters of medical specialties face doctor shortages and although the debate was positive about new roles to support doctors the motions proposed centred around placing restrictions on MAPs.

Many of the points raised in the debate had validity, but a broad brush approach that treats MAPs as a single group fails to …

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