The Government has published The Anaesthesia Associates and Physician Associates Order 2024, paving the way for regulation.

This instrument will allow the statutory regulation of Anaesthesia Associates and Physician Associates (“associates”) by the General Medical Council (GMC). It provides the framework for the regulation of associates and the powers and duties in relation to the GMC.

The government has committed to reforming the legislative framework for regulated health and care professionals across the UK. It will replace the regulators’ current legislation through a series of statutory instruments, giving each regulator near identical powers through broadly similar legislation.

This is the first such instrument and will bring associates into statutory regulation under a new reformed framework and gives powers to and imposes duties on the GMC. The GMC’s overall governance framework and regulation of medical practitioners (doctors) will continue under the Medical Act 1983 (c. 54) after the instrument comes into effect. Our intention is to draft and publish a further instrument for consultation in due course, which will cover reforms for doctors and further governance and operating framework reforms for the GMC.

UK Fitness to Practise News

Charlie Massey, Chief Executive of the General Medical Council said:

‘We welcome this significant milestone towards becoming the regulator of physician associates (PAs) and anaesthesia associates (AAs). We now continue our work towards bringing these valuable professions into regulation by the end of 2024.

‘PAs and AAs are vital members of multidisciplinary teams and practise across the UK to complement the work of doctors. We know that better supported teams, and more manageable workloads, lead to better patient care. The development of these roles should help the health service deal with ongoing pressures.

‘In July 2019, the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC), with the support of the four UK governments, asked us to regulate physician associates (PAs) and anaesthesia associates (AAs). Since then, we have worked hard to design detailed regulatory processes for registration, education, standards and fitness to practise for both professions. By bringing both professions under our regulation, we will ensure AAs and PAs have the knowledge and skills to work safely in the UK.

‘This change will make us a multi-professional regulator and pave the way for further changes. Following this milestone, we look forward to the DHSC’s progression of further reforms for doctors – as well as governance and operating framework reforms for the GMC – as a priority. This will allow us to be more efficient, less adversarial and give us the flexibility to better protect patients and support all registrants.’

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