10 June 2024

RCP Trainees Committee publishes updated position statement on the role of physician associates

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The RCP TC has recommended the following actions:

·       Advanced ‘scope’, including ‘ceiling’ of practice, must be nationally defined on a specialty-by-specialty basis following multi-stakeholder participation.

·       Clear guidance must be published for doctors in training on supervisory roles and relationships, and the medicolegal implications for prescribing, ordering ionising radiation and receiving and making referrals to PAs.

·       Evaluation on the impact of the PA workforce on training should be carried out, with inclusion of specific questions on this topic within existing national training surveys.

·       What it means to be a ‘senior decision maker’ and the steps and qualifications required to reach this position must be clearly defined.

·       A wider evaluation of the state of postgraduate medical training is warranted.

Publishing the statement, members of the RCP TC said:

‘This statement builds upon wider work that the Trainees Committee has been engaged with since early 2023, when these issues became a focus of national attention.

‘We look forward to working constructively with the RCP to tackle the issues identified during the extraordinary general meeting (EGM) and we will ensure that the trainee voice remains represented in these discussions by continuing to advocate for and support RCP trainee members.’

Responding to the statement, Dr Mumtaz Patel, senior censor and RCP vice president for education and training, said:

‘This is a strong and helpful contribution to the debate around PAs, and I am grateful to the RCP TC for putting it together and sharing the statement with RCP Council today. I am especially pleased to read the trainee-led recommendations in the statement, including their call for nationally defined scope of practice defined on a specialty-by-specialty basis following multi-stakeholder participation, which was also a recommendation of the RCP’s post-EGM short life working group.

‘I also welcome their call for a wider review of postgraduate medical education, which is a manifesto call of the RCP. It is time to increase the number of postgraduate training places and commission a wide-ranging review of postgraduate medical training that looks at how doctors want to learn and work in the future. As a college, we will continue to work hard to advocate and support our future generation of doctors.’