GMC sets out plans for regulation of physician and anaesthesia associates

THE GMC has set out its plans for undertaking regulation of physician associates (PAs) and anaesthesia associates (AAs).

In July 2019, the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) tasked the GMC with regulating PAs and MAs. New legislation is needed before regulation can start and this anticipated in the second half of 2021. The UK government is funding set-up costs.

PAs and AAs are two of the four groups known collectively as medical associate professions (MAPs). The other two (not being regulated by the GMC) are advanced critical care practitioners and surgical care practitioners. PAs work alongside doctors and in multidisciplinary teams across a range of specialties in general practice, community and hospital settings. AAs work as part of the anaesthetic team.

Currently there are around 2,000 PAs and 180 AAs working in the UK but numbers are expected to increase in the new few years with 36 UK universities running PA courses and one university offering an AA course.

Newly qualified PAs and AAs will be required to join a GMC register and transitional arrangements will be put in place for those who are already qualified and practising in the UK. The GMC plans to publish more information later this year.

The GMC is inviting participation in its MAPs community of interest and has launched a survey to inform its approach to MAP regulation.

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