GMC’s refusal to recognise doctors’ concerns about its regulation of PAs ‘deeply disappointing’, says BMA

by BMA media team

Press release from the BMA

Location: UK
Published: Tuesday 2 July 2024
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Responding to a statement from the GMC about the BMA’s legal action against the way the GMC plans to regulate physician associates (PAs) and anaesthesia associates (AAs), a BMA spokesperson said:

“The GMC’s refusal to recognise doctors’ concerns about its plans is deeply disappointing and will mean lines between doctors and those without a medical degree continue to be blurred.

“We are also surprised that the GMC is claiming we have not raised objections in the past.

"In fact, we first formally raised concerns about the possibility of the GMC being the regulator of PAs and AAs in December 2017, and we have continued to express those concerns and to point out the risks of blurring the fundamental distinctions between doctors, and PAs and AAs.

“In terms of the use of ‘medical professionals’ to apply to those who are not doctors and who do not have a medical degree, we wrote to the GMC formally objecting to this in December 2020. In response, the GMC offered reassurance that doctors, and PAs and AAs, have very different roles and responsibilities that shouldn’t be confused; that it didn’t believe the umbrella term would do that; that it would only use it when appropriate to the circumstances; and that the majority of its communications would be tailored to refer to each profession individually.

“The increasing demonstrable confusion that has been caused by the use of ‘medical professionals’ to apply to staff other than doctors has the potential to lead to significant patient harm and is clearly a  departure from the assurances the GMC offered in 2020.

“Clearly the GMC’s ongoing use of this inappropriate collective term means action is sadly necessary. We will therefore be moving forward with our application for a judicial review.”


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.