GMC will regulate physician associates, government announcesBMJ 2019; 366 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.l4783 (Published 19 July 2019) Cite this as: BMJ 2019;366:l4783
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Physician associates work with and for doctors, performing medical roles and freeing doctors to focus on more complex cases and (for doctors in training) on their personal development, which can be neglected under workforce pressures. That’s what the evidence shows (1)! Or aren’t we supposed to pay attention to evidence?
And of course PAs should be regulated (as should all staff in close contact with patients). But should they be regulated by the GMC? In my view, and that of the GMC and the public, Royal Colleges and other stakeholders in the recent consultation on regulation of PAs (and others), it should be the GMC. Why? Because PAs work in the medical space, are trained to the medical model. And the GMC is the organisation best fitted to set standards for education and monitor professional behaviours: the two key attributes of regulation which support patient safety.
We should be welcoming PAs and anaesthesia associates to our medical teams instead of behaving as if doctors are uniquely special.
We are in this together. Let’s not bicker!
(1) Drennan V et al https://www.journalslibrary.nihr.ac.uk/hsdr/hsdr07190/#/abstract)
Competing interests: Immediate past chair of the PA Schools Council. Immediate past Director of the University of Birmingham PA course. Member of the Faculty of PAs at RCP (London). Current Senior Examiner for the PA national examination.