Government announces regulation of physician associates
Matt Hancock, the secretary of state for health and social care, has announced plans to introduce statutory regulation of physician associates (PAs).
The Faculty of Physician Associates (FPA) and the Royal College of Physicians (RCP) are delighted that after years of making the case to government we’ve been heard. Achieving statutory regulation for physician associates has been an important priority and we are now a significant step closer.
Jeannie Watkins, president of the FPA, said:
I’m delighted that the secretary of state has announced the regulation of physician associates. I know physician associates across the UK will today be celebrating this milestone for the profession. The government’s commitment to regulation of the profession provides a strong foundation to embed PAs into the NHS workforce across primary and secondary care.
We are excited about the possibilities that a new and growing workforce can bring in developing a health service that meets the needs of patients alongside our medical and healthcare colleagues. The Faculty of Physician Associates looks forward to working with the department and regulators in the months ahead as we move a significant step closer to regulation.
Professor Andrew Goddard, president of the RCP, said:
This is great news and really encouraging to see that, like us, the Department of Health and Social Care sees the huge benefit that regulated physician associates can bring to the NHS. Regulation will both allow PAs to fulfil their potential and maintain high standards of patient safety. Achieving statutory regulation for physician associates has been an important priority for the RCP and the FPA. In the last year nearly 700 physician associate students have sat the national certification exam and have entered the workforce, helping to ease the pressures we are all feeling.
The government has recognised the commitment and potential of the profession and will now work with the FPA and the RCP as we move towards statutory regulation. Regulation provides the opportunity to embed PAs into the NHS workforce across primary and secondary care. As one of the only growing healthcare professions, PAs have the opportunity to help shape healthcare moving forward to ensure the NHS meets the needs of patients and delivers high-quality patient care.