Doctors call for accountability for the way PAs are employed in the NHS

by BMA media team

Press release from the BMA

Location: UK
Published: Monday 24 June 2024
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Responding to the passing of the BMA Annual Representative Meeting (ARM)'s Motion 12, Prof Philip Banfield, BMA chair of council, said:

“The situation with the employment of MAPs in the NHS has been ever more concerning for doctors in the last year. Nearly 9 in 10 doctors we surveyed observed that the way MAPS are currently employed is a danger to patient safety.
“This year the BMA has taken real steps to try and introduce some clarity to the situation for the sake both of our colleagues and the patients we serve. We have published the first guidance of its kind that sets out a clear scope of practice so that MAPs, doctors and patients know that everyone in medical teams is being employed to do the tasks suitable for them. We have published clear guidance to doctors so that the situation never arises when MAPs are acting unsupervised.
“Above all we have made clear that PAs should never be a substitute for doctors and have demanded a pause in their recruitment until it can be made clear that they can integrated into medical teams safely. Today the conference clearly backed that position.
“There is a clear call for more transparency and accountability about the way MAPs are working. The new government, NHSE, and Royal Colleges are all going to have to step up and show how they will deal with the dangers of employing MAPs unsafely.”

Notes to editors

The full motion reads

"Motion by NORTH EAST REGIONAL COUNCIL: There have been multiple patient safety incidents attributable to Medical Associate Practitioners (MAPS) within the
NHS. The BMA, GPC and the European Union of General Practitioners (UEMO) have expressed concerns over the increasing use of MAPS and potential substitution of doctors. That this meeting:-"
i) demands that MAPS are not used as a substitute for doctors and insists on a pause in recruitment and deployment of PAs;
ii) affirms the BMA traffic light system for MAPS and believes that MAPS must not prescribe or see undifferentiated patients within Primary or Secondary Care;
"iii) believes that appropriate education and training must be offered to doctors supervising MAPS and supports colleagues who refuse to supervise non-medical
"iv) calls for an urgent public enquiry into reports that MAPS have worked outside of their competence including incidences of inappropriately signing prescriptions
and requesting ionising radiation;"
v) affirms that doctors have a moral and professional duty, under GMC Good Medical Practice (paragraph 25), to raise concerns about anything that impacts patient safety or could impact patient safety.