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Physician associates: DAUK acknowledges new NHS England guidance and urges further measures

The Doctors’ Association UK (DAUK) acknowledges the new NHS England guidance on the integration of medical associate professionals (MAPs) – including physician associates – into the healthcare workforce.

DAUK views the NHS England guidance as a positive step towards patient safety and effective multidisciplinary teams – but believes more still must be done.

Dr Matt Kneale, DAUK co-chair, said: “The focus on clear roles, appropriate supervision, and limits to the scope of practice for PAs aligns with our long-standing position on the safe integration of non-medical professionals into healthcare.

“We particularly welcome the emphasis on PAs not replacing doctors and the clarification of prescribing rights, both of which are critical for maintaining high-quality patient care.

“However, while welcoming this guidance, we maintain that significant work remains to ensure patient safety.

“We continue to call for an immediate pause on the recruitment of MAPs, including PAs and Anaesthesia Associates (AAs), until robust safeguards are fully established.”

This position reflects a recent DAUK member survey, which revealed substantial concerns among frontline doctors about PAs potentially operating beyond their competence. This raises the possibility of risks to both medical training quality and patient safety.

To ensure that MAP integration doesn’t compromise healthcare or training standards, DAUK calls for more stringent regulatory measures and governance frameworks.

DAUK urges the General Medical Council (GMC), in collaboration with stakeholders, to accelerate the development of comprehensive curricula, core capability frameworks, and standards for continuous professional development, assessment, and appraisal for MAPs.

DAUK also encourages NHS England and healthcare leaders to maintain open dialogue with medical professionals.
These conversations should address concerns and actively incorporate frontline staff input into the policymaking process.

Dr Kneale said: “Collaboration is essential for an NHS that is both inclusive and safe, enabling all team members to work to their full potential.

“DAUK remains committed to working with NHS England, the GMC, and other partners. This cooperation will support the development of a well-regulated, integrated, and safe NHS workforce that upholds the highest standards of patient care.”