The General Medical Council has published an update on its progress towards regulation of physician associates (PAs) and anaesthesia associates (AAs).

In 2020, the General Medical Council GMC) announced plans to bring Physician Associates & Anaesthesia Associates in to its regulatory scope. 

The GMC confirmed it has now created a draft of the interim guidance which it will present to its Council in the coming months.  It said “The guidance is interim because we are currently reviewing of our core guidance for doctors Good medical practice which will include a public consultation.”

Disagreement on key findings

The GMC reported however that there was some disagreement on key findings following a survey last year about the reflections and experiences of working as, or with, a PA or an AA.  It is reported that 91% respondents agreed that AAs and PAs should adhere to the standards set out in our core guidance for doctors, Good medical practice.

However, there wasn’t consensus among doctors and patients, as well as some PAs and AAs on:

  • Dependence: The concept of ‘dependent practice’ i.e. responsibility for supervision and accountability for actions.
  • Role differentiation and communication: how are PAs and AAs different/similar to doctors? Where do PAs and AAs fit in the team? How can patients understand these roles?
  • Scope of practice – what can/can’t PAs and AAs do? How does this change over time?
  • Supervision and accountability
  • The overall role of PAs and AAs and their contribution to the team

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