President's Christmas Bulletin 

Dear colleague, 

I wanted to wish all of you the warmest of season’s greetings and hope that you enjoy the festive period. It is a challenging time of year for NHS staff and for many vulnerable patients, and the work that you do in partnership with your teams to deliver the best possible care in times of mounting winter pressures is truly amazing. As is all of the hard work that all of you have done this year to advocate for and promote the physician associate profession in the UK. And what a year it has been!

The final days to have your say

There are now just two days to submit your response to the Department of Health consultation on the regulation of medical associate professions in the UK, recommending that statutory regulation be introduced for PAs. This is a monumental positive step forward, and the result of a decade’s worth of campaigning as a profession. I am incredibly proud to be part of this progress as a PA, as one of the first PAs who graduated from the pilot scheme back in 2007 and as the current president of the Faculty of Physician Associates (FPA).

We look forward to working with the government and the Department of Health to make regulation of the profession a reality as soon as we can, and the FPA awaits the results of the consultation with anticipation.

Please make sure you have submitted your consultation response before the consultation closes on Friday 22 December! 

FPA Conference Highlights of 2017

Throughout 2017 we have had the opportunity to raise the profile of the profession, myth bust and engage with PA’s (students and qualified), stakeholders and healthcare professionals across the UK. We have had meetings with organisations such as the Royal College of Nursing (RCN), the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP), regulatory bodies the General Medical Council (GMC) and the Health Care Practitioners Council (HCPC), Health Education England (HEE) and the DH.

Engaging with our colleagues across different health care professions and organisations is central to the work we do. The meetings that I personally have had with representatives from the trainees committee at the RCP and the junior doctor’s committee at the British Medical Association (BMA) have also been fantastic – it is exactly these kinds of conversations that we should be having to support each other within the multidisciplinary team and to build the foundations of lasting relationships that will exist for years to come.

In March we had an amazing turn out at our sessions arranged about and for PAs at the Royal College of Physicians’ (RCP) annual conference, Medicine 2017. Physician associates: shaping the future of the medical workforce was a fantastic session with a great deal of interested doctors in the audience.

FPA employer's guide An employer’s guide to physician associates

In September 2017 we launched An employer’s guide to physician associates, an evolving document that provides information for current and potential employers and supervisors of PAs.

We published it in order to continue the key awareness raising work about the profession, as well as to enable healthcare providers (including acute hospital trusts, community trusts, and primary care organisations) to understand the role of a PA, their scope of practice, and how to employ a PA.

I and other FPA members have also had the opportunity to represent the profession at some important and super events across the UK – including the RCGP conference, and hosting some very successful ones of our own – including our very first PA Student Conference in October, at the new RCP North building in Liverpool. We were delighted to have such a great turnout and brilliant feedback. Thank you to all those who have played a part in making the events we have hosted or represented PAs at such a great success.

FPA Census 2017 The FPA Census 2017 

We are pleased to have also published the FPA census 2017. We have seen amazing growth in PA student numbers, an increase in the number of PA programmes that are available in the UK and continued awareness of the role across other healthcare professions and the public. What this demonstrates is not just how exciting the profession is currently – but also how much we have to look forward to.

So many of you are soon to be graduating as qualified PAs in an environment where we now have an appetite for regulation and patient safety from the government and others, as well as growing support from our colleagues in other healthcareprofessions.

I look forward to 2018 and the new opportunities it brings, and hope that all of you will continue with us on our journey through to the first consultation results, and building on the success that this will hopefully bring.

Many thanks to all of you again for your continued support and brilliance.

Season’s greetings, and all the best wishes for the new (and exciting!) year ahead.

Jeannie Watkins

President, FPA