Regulation StatusThe latest information and updates on the profession as it moves towards regulation.
The fact that the profession is currently unregulated means that PAs cannot prescribe medication or order ionising radiation (ie order x-rays) and the title ‘Physician Associate’ is not protected. This is a relatively new role in the UK and statutory regulation is still being sought. This is something that the government and the Department of Health is currently supporting.
In July 2019, the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC), with the support of the four UK governments, asked the GMC to regulate physician associates (PAs) and anaesthesia associates (AAs). These changes are dependent on new legislation and subject to consultation. Based on the government’s timetable for consultation we expect regulation to begin in the second half of 2024 at the earliest.
At present the Managed Voluntary Register (PA-MVR) at the Faculty of Physician Associates at the RCP holds details of PAs who meet all the required standards. All qualified PAs are encouraged to register and we strongly recommend that all employers make this a condition of employment. Employers should check this at appointment and at yearly appraisal to ensure that only those properly trained are able to practice as PAs in the UK.
PA-MVR membership is also available to students and the universities in the South East stress the importance of membership to all students who enrol on their post and under graduate courses.
The FPARCP, Health Education England and the higher education institutes continue to work toward regulation of the profession and the launch of a statutory register. Once this is in place, it is expected that those on the PA-MVR will be transferred to the statutory register, the title ‘Physician Associate’ will become protected, and only those on the register will legally be allowed to practice as a PA in the UK.