RCPsych response to media coverage of Physician Associates

Statement / comment
05 March 2024

Update (28 March 2024)

For the latest on this topic, please see our March 2024 blog post, 'Addressing your concerns about Physician Associates' from RCPsych President Dr Lade Smith CBE.

Dr Lade Smith CBE, President of the Royal College of Psychiatrists, has issued a statement on Physician Associates.

Lade said:

“We welcome the continued discussion about the role of Physician Associates (PAs) in the media today. We are undertaking a comprehensive review of the role of Medical Associate Professions (MAPs), starting with PAs, including their scope of practice. The aim of this review is to create guidance on how PAs can best support the multidisciplinary team in the delivery of good quality mental healthcare to patients.

“This programme of work is already under way. I strongly believe this will allow us to prioritise and act on the views and the concerns of our membership in a meaningful way, with long-term impact. 

“This is a very important area for us and many of the Academy of Medical Royal College’s members as the role of PAs is to support the work of doctors, as part of the wider healthcare team.

“Government has committed to funding an additional 60,000 medical doctors by 2035 and 10,000 PA training places. With 28 medical specialties, it is likely a maximum of 350 PAs could join the existing mental health workforce.

“Medical royal colleges are responsible for setting the postgraduate medical curricula and developing professional standards across all specialties and healthcare delivery settings. Individually, we are best placed to determine whether PAs are required and how to work with them to safely support good patient care.

“We support the Academy consensus statement on high-level principles regarding Physician Associates. This document details some practical guidance for doctors and healthcare teams to use when considering whether, and how, to integrate Physician Associates into existing teams.”

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