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Physician associates: Support for legal challenge to GMC regulation

The Doctors’ Association UK (DAUK) has given its support to a legal challenge to the GMC’s regulation of physician associates (PAs) and anaesthesia associates (AAs).

DAUK has long-standing concerns that GMC regulation will blur the roles of doctors and non-doctors, creating a misunderstanding of the role of PAs and presenting a significant risk to patient safety.

We’ve also voiced concerns about the scope of practice, that doctors are responsible in law for PA care, and concerns that tasks and procedures that doctors in training need to practice repeatedly are being reallocated to PAs and AAs.

Now, Anaesthetists United says patients should be able to know the difference between doctors and non-doctors and has launched a crowdfunding campaign to support its legal challenge.

It is working with John Halford of Bindmans LLP, a public law solicitor with experience in the regulatory framework on protected titles, and Tom de la Mare KC of Blackstones

Anaesthetists United said it was trying to achieve:

·       Clear and enforceable guidance from the GMC on the ‘privileges of members’ admitted to Associate practice, defining what they can and cannot do (their Scope of Practice) and clear rules on levels of supervision. This can be delegated to the appropriately-empowered medical college/faculty.

·       The current ‘Good Medical Practice’ guidance replaced by two separate sets of guidance for the two separate professions, and

·       An end to the use of the ambiguous term ‘Medical Professionals’ used to describe two separate groups misleadingly.

The crowdfund campaign has already raised the £15,000 needed to cover initial costs of a brief and opinion, with an overall target of £100,000 to cover the full costs if it goes to court.

Find out more about the legal challenge and give your support.

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