The Physician Associate Managed Voluntary Register (PAMVR) is held exclusively by the Faculty of Physician Associates (FPA), and allows employers to check whether an applicant or employee is a fully qualified and approved physician associate.

The PAMVR was established in June 2010 to provide public protection and safety, set standards for post graduate education and development, and to advance towards statutory regulation.

The FPA reviews applications to join the PAMVR, and establishes whether the physician associate applying is fit to practice in the UK. If a physician associate is listed on the PAMVR, then employers, members of the public, supervisors and other healthcare professionals can be safe in the knowledge that they are a fully qualified and approved physician associate. 

To view the PAMVR please click below.

Joining the PAMVR

To be registered on the PAMVR, you must apply for FPA physician associate membership and meet all of the eligibility criteria. Please see the  membership page  for details on how to join. 

The PAMVR does not currently have force of law, so is 'voluntary' as its name suggests. However, the FPA strongly encourages all qualified physician associates to join the register, and all trusts and practices to ensure that the physician associates they employ are registered.

While work towards statutory regulation is underway, the overall decision regarding the eventual registering body for physician associates will be made by the government. All UK-based physician associates are therefore strongly encouraged to join the PAMVR as it will form the initial list of physician associates to enter a statutory register when established.

As soon as a statutory register is in place, those on the managed voluntary register are expected to be transferred onto the statutory register, the title physician associate will become protected, and only those on the statutory register will legally be allowed to practice as a physician associate in the UK.

Regulation is on the way!

In February 2011, the UK government published  Enabling Excellence: Autonomy and Accountability for Health and Social Care Staff, a command paper setting out its policy on professional regulation. The paper outlined a system of assured voluntary registration and stated that in the future statutory regulation will only be considered where there is a ‘compelling case’ and where ‘voluntary registers are not considered sufficient to manage this risk’.

The faculty of physician associates pushed the campaign for statutory regulation, firmly believing that physician associates were indeed a compelling case and that voluntary registers were not sufficient to manage the potential risk. 

In July 2019, the call for regulation was answered and the Department for Health and Social Care (DHSC) 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!

Following the announcement, the FPA and the RCP met with Charlie Massey, the Chief Executive Officer at the GMC, the first of many meetings with the GMC, and there was real excitement about the pathway that PAs are now on. We were really pleased that the GMC had made clear that while they had been charged with leading the introduction of regulation for PAs, their ethos, as we move ever closer to regulation, is one of co-creation and we are working closely with the GMC in preparation for the role that they will soon fulfil. 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 to be undertaken. We’ve taken a quick look at some of the key ones:

  • DHSC and GMC 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 and we’ll be ensuring that the voices of PAs are heard throughout this process.  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.