GMC regulation of AAs and PAs a 'slap in the face' to doctors, says BMA

by BMA media team

BMA press release

Location: UK
Published: Monday 11 December 2023

Responding to the announcement that Physician Associates (PAs) and Anaesthesia Associates (AAs) will be regulated by the General Medical Council (GMC), Prof Philip Banfield, BMA chair of council, said:

“For the Government to call this move a “boost” to patient safety, it will feel like another slap in the face for undervalued UK doctors who have spent years patiently explaining why it is exactly the opposite. At every stage we have been clear that the GMC is the wrong regulator for medical associate professionals: it is the body for regulating doctors, which these professionals simply are not. For the Government to press on despite the overwhelming opposition of the medical profession and opposition from patients shows they are failing to take seriously the safety concerns that have been raised about the choice of regulator.

“The Government is encouraging a false representation. Patients being told that the people seeing them are regulated by the same body that regulates doctors will make them think they are receiving a doctor’s standard of care. But there is no comparison between the two years of a PA’s training and the four to six years undertaken to qualify as a doctor. Patients deserve to know who is treating them and the standard of care they are going to receive. By supporting the impression that PAs can do everything doctors can do, the Government is opening the way to more patient safety incidents along the tragic lines we have already seen.

“There is still time for the Government to reverse course and finally listen to the medical professionals who know what they are talking about. The BMA will continue to oppose this dangerous course every step of the way.”

Notes to editors

The BMA is a professional association and trade union representing and negotiating on behalf of all doctors in the UK. A leading voice advocating for outstanding health care and a healthy population. An association providing members with excellent individual services and support throughout their lives.