Faculty of Physician Associates' public statement on the RCP extraordinary general meeting (EGM) motions

The Royal College of Physicians (RCP) will hold an extraordinary general meeting of fellows on Wednesday 13 March 2024 to debate issues relating to physician associates. Following a request by fellows of the RCP, the agreed motions will cover issues such as the regulation, supervision and scope of practice of PAs and will be debated.

The Faculty of Physician Associates (FPA), hosted by the RCP, would like to take this opportunity to set out its position in relation to these motions.

We would like to reiterate several points previously made by the FPA, and more recently by other national organisations. Physician associates are not doctors and cannot replace doctors. The FPA has always maintained that physician associates are designed to supplement the medical workforce as additional members of the multidisciplinary team, thereby improving patient access.

The FPA maintains that physician associates are not doctors, as highlighted and explained in our most recent publication, the FPA Physician associate title and introduction guidance for PAs, supervisors, employers and organisations, reflected in the FPA Code of conduct and other FPA publications. The FPA echoes the most recent statement from the RCP and letter from NHS England.

The profession is designed to supplement the medical workforce, thereby improving access to patient care – and this has been a stance that the FPA has held since its establishment. The FPA strongly agrees that all healthcare professionals, including physician associates, must work within their scope of practice.

We would encourage physician associates, doctors, other healthcare professionals and organisations to become familiar with FPA guidance and to follow it:

We have provided a written response to the RCP EGM motions for consideration of RCP fellows, in preparation for the EGM debate. We have taken the decision to share this publicly given the interest in the physician associate profession.

March 2024