Physician associates: Regulation must be paused over safety concerns, says DAUK

The Doctors’ Association UK (DAUK) remains deeply concerned about the creation of a framework for the regulation of physician associates (PAs) and anaesthesia associates (AAs) and says ‘the safety and protection of the public must be paramount’.

DAUK co-chair Matt Kneale said the Government’s plan to regulate PAs and AAs under the General Medical Council (GMC) must be stopped until issues around scope and supervision are sorted.

Dr Kneale said: “The rollout of PAs and AAs must be paused given the amount of uproar there has been and given the amount of patient safety concerns that have been raised across the country.

“Our survey of 650 doctors highlighted alarming instances of patient harm due to the replacement of doctors with PAs and AAs, and seemingly every day we’re hearing more examples of harm and poor practice.

“The safety and protection of the public must be paramount, and so this process needs to be stopped until we’ve sorted the issues around regulation, scope and supervision.”

Dr Kneale was speaking after a crucial piece of legislation around PA and AA regulation was debated in Parliament on Wednesday (17 January).

The legislation was discussed by a small number of MPs in a committee room, away from the main chambers of the House of Commons, and passed by statutory instrument.

It will go before the House of Lords at the next stage.

Dr Kneale said: “Legislation that potentially has huge repercussions for the future health of the country should be debated in the main chambers of Parliament and not hidden away to avoid proper scrutiny.

“Statutory instruments are meant for technical pieces of legislation, and certainly weren’t intended for complex, controversial legislation like the regulation of potentially dangerous medical replacements.

“DAUK is now calling on the House of Lords to really scrutinise this legislation before it’s passed into law, particularly given the serious concern expressed by doctors over the past few months.

“In addition, we’re working with Anaesthetists United and a leading KC to ascertain whether there are causes for any legal challenges.”