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Physician Associate Regulation

Physician Associates, also known as PA, are medically trained, generalist healthcare professionals, who work alongside doctors and provide medical care as an integral part of the multidisciplinary team. Physician associates are dependent practitioners working with a dedicated medical supervisor, but are able to work autonomously with appropriate support.

Currently they are not subject to statutory regulation. They are encourage to register with the PA Managed Voluntary Register (PAMVR), governed by the Faculty of Physician Associates at RCP London. However, this register is voluntary only. The title Physician Associate is not protected, therefore anyone can call themselves a PA. statutory regulation would ensure that only PAs who have completed an approved programme of study and passed the rigorous testing required by the FPA at RCP could work as a PA.

Additionally, PAs are currently not able to work to their full potential. This means that doctors do not get the best support they need and patient's do not get access to the best care they could receive. With statutory regulation for PAs, it would enable a greater scope of practice for PAs, such a potential future prescribing of medications, requesting investigations such as X-rays and CT scans and therefore enabling them to better support our doctors in training, as well as widen access to improved medical care for patients.

edited on Sep 10, 2018 by Jamie Saunders

Chris Meally Sep 10, 2018

This is vitally important for the following reasons:
1. Assurances for Patient Safety
2. Allow the role to work to its full potential

Lets get the ball rolling and regulation of Physician Associates in 2018...

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Matt Hancock Sep 25, 2018

Hi Jamie

Thank you for taking the time to write.

I’m really encouraged by your support for expanding the role of physician associates – this is certainly something that we need to explore in more detail to help develop the workforce and alleviate pressures on the health system and I’ve already discussed it with the RCP.

PAs are involved in so many aspects of patient care that they have, in a short space of time, become an integral part of the team. The department went out to public consultation in October 2017 to seek views on the possible statutory regulation of physician associates so your views on this topic are very timely. I wanted to let you know that we are looking into this and we will be publishing our response to the consultation soon. Watch this space!

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Jamie Saunders Sep 30, 2018

HI Matt

Thank you for taking the time to reply to me, It means a lot to myself and other PAs that you are taking the time to engage with us and I'm really pleased to read that you have already discussed our profession and statutory regulation of Physician Associates with the RCP.

I am also very excited to read that you are planning on publishing the much awaited regulation outcome soon. As I'm sure you're aware the consultation closed last December 2017 and we have been patiently, but very eagerly and socially actively, awaiting the outcome ever since.

If you could find the time (I appreciate you're busy), I would welcome a chance to meet with yourself and discuss the role of PAs in healthcare here in the UK, as well as further explain why the introduction of statutory regulation for PAs is so vital and what it will mean for the future of healthcare in our NHS and to the patients we serve.

In the mean time, myself and the other hundreds (soon to be thousands) of PAs around the UK will eagerly await the consultation outcome.

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Adam DHSC Oct 12, 2018

Hi Jamie,
I just wanted to update you with regard to your comments and point you to the announcement that has just been released:


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Jamie Saunders Oct 12, 2018

Hi Adam, thank you very much for this update! This is really fantastic news and has been a much awaited decision since the consultation closed. I am very pleased, and I'm sure that all PAs and PA(A)s across the country are too, that Matt is taking forward legislation for the introduction of statutory regulation for our professions.

Thank you and best wishes.

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Jamie Saunders Jan 27, 2019

Hi Adam / Matt, do you have any updates around the introduction of regulation for Physician Associates and Physicians' Assistant (Anaesthesia)? I'm sure you're all busy at the moment, but we're nearing >1,000 PAs coming in to clinical practice soon and never has there been a greater time where #PARegulation is needed. We're all eagerly awaiting.

Many thanks,
Physician Associate PA-R, London

Reply 1

Adam DHSC Jan 28, 2019

Hi Jamie,
Let me make some inquiries and I'll let you know.



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Adam DHSC 11 months ago

Hi Jamie,
I have been in contact with the team and they tell me that regulation of PAs and PA(A)s remains a priority and they are currently taking forward work to deliver this. This includes deciding which regulatory body will be responsible for PA and PA(A) regulation, consulting on draft legislation and working with stakeholders to ensure the readiness of the two professions. The legislation will then need to pass through Parliament.

We will keep you updated!


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