FICM response to the introduction of statutory regulation of PAs and PA(A)s.
We welcome and fully support the decision from the Department of Health and Social Care to proceed with the statutory regulation of Physicians’ Associates (PAs) and Physicians’ Assistants (Anaesthesia) (PA(A)s).
We are disappointed to hear that Advanced Critical Care Practitioners (ACCPs) will not be regulated as part of the Medical Associate Professions (MAP) route. Following the Department of Health and Social Care’s original statement that MAP regulation would be limited to PAs and PA(A)s the Faculty, along with a number of other bodies in the critical care community, made cogent and detailed arguments in the subsequent consultation about why that decision was not forward thinking. Despite this, and a long period of waiting following the initial consultation, it appears that decision has been unaffected and neither ACCPs nor Surgical Care Practitioners (SCPs) will be included in the next stages towards regulation.
Our disappointment is twofold – firstly, the opportunity for specific regulation for the role would have defined the role’s title, protecting patients and helping the role to grow. It would have also expanded the role to include those professions who currently cannot undertake the full remit of the role due to the limitations of their existing regulation. Secondly, both the Faculty and the National Association of ACCPs have invested a considerable amount of time in Health Education England’s work on Medical Associate Professions, often clearly demonstrating how far ahead the ACCP role is in terms of a unified curriculum, career progression and appraisal frameworks. The overwhelming message from this consultation has been that PAs, PA(A)s, SCPs, and ACCPs are all currently functioning well beyond their scope of practice, so we question why the two groups would be treated differently.
The Faculty will continue to work with HEE and NHS Improvement on the options open to ACCPs to progress as an essential workforce solution and positive career pathway. The Faculty and the National Association will continue to be strongly supportive of the need to develop and expand the ACCP workforce.
Dean of the Faculty
Chair of the National Association of ACCPs
NHS England Getting It Right First Time Lead – Critical Care