Department of Health Consultation
The Department of Health is seeking views on the regulation of medical associate professions (MAPs) in the UK.
Health Education England welcomes the Department of Health’s consultation on proposals to consider professional regulation of four Medical Associate Professions.
As the NHS body with statutory responsibility for investing over £4.8 billion a year to ensure the NHS has the right staff, in the right numbers with the right skills, the outcome of this consultation is crucial to enabling the realisation of the future shape of the medical workforce and the skill mix within medical teams that will deliver excellent care in and out of hospitals.
The four MAP roles - Physicians’ Assistants (Anaesthesia), Physician Associates, Surgical Care Practitioners and Advanced Critical Care Practitioners - have been identified as important in addressing some of the workforce issues facing the NHS.
The major policy changes from the Five Year Forward View, and other reports over the years, have identified the need for significant reconfiguration and reshaping of the medical workforce in the English NHS to deliver clinically effective medical care and treatment quickly and safely.
The four MAPs are clinically trained to work within a defined scope of practice to supplement medical care and treatment under the direction and supervision of qualified doctors. The full benefits from the qualification of these practitioners to patient safety, experience, and public confidence can only be realised through enforcement of professional standards, competence and capability by law.
Evidence shows demand for the four Medical Associate Professions is growing across England and this national dimension adds weight to calls for a stronger mechanism of quality assurance and standardisation of the MAP education and training. Preventing unwarranted variation in the quality of education and training, and how these roles are deployed and held accountable in multi-disciplinary professional teams, requires HEE to take leadership responsibility in assessing the potential risks for patient safety and public confidence from their clinical practice.
HEE’s function in progressing professional regulation for the MAPs is an advisory one. Nevertheless, HEE’s work with the medical royal colleges that have led the development of the four MAPs has resulted in a compelling case to regulate the titles of each profession under statute. As members of HEE’s MAP Oversight Board, their collective and clinical knowledge, and their professional insight, has helped provide the necessary external rigour and challenge to inform HEE’s professional view that all four MAPs must progress to statutory regulation.
More information on the consultation including how to give your views can be found on the Department of Health website