Physician Associate regulation - next steps

Regulation is on the way! The Department for Health and Social Care (DHSC) have now formally asked the General Medical Council (GMC) to regulate Physician Associates (PAs) and Anaesthesia Associates (AAs). After years of campaigning regulation is now in sight, but we are not quite there yet!

We’ve already started working with the GMC on scoping out the role that they will soon fulfil. Back in July the FPA and the RCP met with Charlie Massey, the Chief Executive Officer at the GMC. It was the first of what will be many meetings but there was real excitement about the pathway that PAs are now on. We are really pleased that the GMC have made clear that while they have been charged with leading the introduction of regulation for PAs their ethos, as we move ever closer to regulation, will be one of co-creation. This ensures that we create a regulatory approach which is fit for the future and one that understands the nuances between the two roles (PAs and AAs).

Now the process has begun there are a number of key programmes of work which the stakeholders will undertake. We’ve taken a quick look at some of the key ones:

  • DHSC and GMC will have to negotiate a funding agreement for the initial costs. The GMC has already been clear that associated costs should not be borne by doctors.
  • GMC will need to develop, the policies, operational systems and IT needed to support regulation for PAs.
  • DHSC and the GMC will have to scope out and begin to draft up the required secondary legislation which will provide the framework for regulation. The legislation will then need to be consulted on.
  • In time the legislation will have to be laid before parliament. At the moment it is impossible to say for certain when this will be. However, bringing forward legislation of this type typically takes between 18 and 24 months.
  • The GMC will then have time to prepare the register and get ready for the first PAs to join it.

There’s lots of work to be done, by a range of stakeholders. We’ll be ensuring that the voices of PAs are heard throughout that process. For those of you attending FPA conference, you’ll get to hear from the GMC directly

As things progress we’ll keep you up to date! You may also want to keep an eye on the GMC website for information and updates.