RCoA response to Government consultation into regulation of MAPS

Responding to the Secretary of State for Health’s announcement of the consultation into the regulation of medical associate professions, Dr Liam Brennan, President of the Royal College of Anaesthetists (RCoA), said: “We welcome the Government’s intention to introduce statutory regulation for Physician Associates. However, we are disappointed and concerned that their unequivocal aim does not yet extend to the other medical associate professions, in particular Physicians’ Assistants (Anaesthesia) (PA(A) and Advanced Critical Care Practitioners (ACCP).

“Anaesthetists work with two-thirds of all hospital patients. Some of which work with PA(A)s who perform complex, time-critical tasks which we believe require regulation including maintenance of general anaesthesia, procedural sedation and a number of anaesthesia-related roles including: pre-and-post operative assessment, invasive procedures, administration of drugs and performance of advanced life support during cardio-pulmonary resuscitation.

“RCoA believes not to have the same level of statutory regulation for PA(A)s as physician associates would be a missed opportunity, particularly when the NHS needs support in all areas of delivery. We believe properly regulated PA(A) and ACCP roles can help anaesthetic and critical care teams across the NHS deliver enhanced patient safety.”

The Department of Health’s risk profiles states: “the RCoA and the Association of Anaesthetists of Great Britain and Ireland (AAGBI) are clear in their position that statutory regulation is an essential component of supervision for the future of the profession, to assure both quality standards and processes for accountability in the event of serious incidents or fitness to practice concerns.” (P.44)

“The 2016 joint position statement on Physicians’ Assistants in Anaesthesia by the RCoA, AAGBI and the Association of Physicians Assistants Anaesthesia is explicit in its stance regarding the need for statutory regulation of the profession. This is for the primary protection of patient safety and secondarily for clarity for supervisors and colleagues, recruitment and employment assurance, and the development of enhanced roles”. (P53)

12 October 2017