The UK Government Department of Health and Social Care has announced that the General Medical Council will regulate physician associates and anaesthesia associates. The decision comes after a consultation into the matter.

Commenting, Professor Derek Bell, President of the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh, said:

The College welcomes the decision to regulate physician associates and anaesthesia associates, as this recognises the significant roles they play in healthcare. The GMC has only ever regulated doctors, so taking on the regulation of these professions is unchartered territory. Care must be taken to ensure that the general public are aware of the difference between these medical professions, and we would expect that the GMC are properly resourced to regulate doctors, physician associates and anaesthesia associates separately, effectively and fairly.

Charlie Massey, General Medical Council Chief Executive said:

We are pleased the four UK governments have made a decision about who should take this important work forward. We look forward to supporting physician associates and anaesthesia associates to maximise their contribution to the workforce, while ensuring high standards are maintained to meet the needs of patients.

We are now working closely with the Department of Health and Social Care to determine timescales and costs. We have been clear that costs should not be borne by doctors. In accepting responsibility for regulating these professions, we will also make sure that excellence is maintained in education for both doctors and medical associate professionals, so that all trainees receive the time and support they need to learn and provide safe care.

Paul Gillen

Contact: Paul Gillen 0131 247 3658