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Medical Associate Professions

In response to the issues highlighted in the NHS Five-Year Forward View, the NHS has seen the emergence of new professional roles for non-medically qualified practitioners working within multi-professional teams as part of the continuing drive to provide safe, accessible and high quality care for patients.

In Autumn 2014 HEE commissioned a report entitled “Working towards a common education and training programme to support a route to statutory regulation for Physicians’ Assistants (Anaesthesia), (now known as Anaesthesia Associates), Physician Associates, and Surgical Care Practitioners in England”. Subsequently, Advanced Critical Care Practitioners were included within the scope.  These roles have been identified as important solutions to some of these workforce issues.

The report contained a review of the current education and training, career development and regulation of these professional groups, known collectively as Medical Associate Professions (MAPs).

Introduction to the Medical Associate Professions (MAPs) roles from NHS Employers on Vimeo.

Our work to date

Through our MAPs Oversight Board, we have worked in partnership with representatives of the devolved administrations, Medical Royal Colleges and their affiliated faculty representatives, to identify common themes and establish a core level of knowledge, skills and behaviours across all four MAP roles. This work provided clarity around role definition to employers, patients and the public in support of all four professions, allowing easier movement of such professionals between employers whilst ensuring patient safety. 

In October 2017, the Department of Health and Social Care sought views via a public consultation on the regulation of medical associate professions in the UK. Following a high volume of responses, in October 2018, the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care Matt Hancock accounted plans to move forward with plans to introduce statutory regulation of physician associates and anaesthesia associates.

HEE and the MAPs oversight board continue to work with the Department on progressing statutory regulation for these two roles and supporting the development of a legislative framework to bring in future roles into the MAP group.

In February 2021 HEE commissioned Skills for Health to lead the development of a Core Capabilities Framework (the framework) to underpin the new career framework for Medical Associate Professions (MAPs). The framework will identify and describe the professional skills, knowledge and behaviours required to deliver high quality, compassionate care and support. Whilst the work will initially focus on Anaesthesia (AA) and Physician Associates (PA) as they move towards statutory regulation by the General Medical Council (GMC), the work will also be mindful of the requirements of Surgical Care (SCP) and Advanced Critical Care Practitioners. The framework is being developed in partnership with the GMC to similar timescales to the work to introduce statutory regulation of PAs and AAs. The framework project has begun and is expected to complete by spring 2022.

Register to be involved via the skills for health website.


Establishing Common Standards for Continuing Professional Development, Assessment and Appraisal

Working with our Royal College and faculty partners, we have developed the 'Establishing Common Standards for Continuing Professional Development, Assessment and Appraisal Guidelines for Medical Associate Professionals'.

This document provides clear guidance for the trained and qualified MAP NHS workforce, and sets out common standards for ongoing CPD, assessment and appraisal. This guidance should be used to enable MAPs, with the support of employers, to plan, institute, maintain and evidence their ongoing clinical, academic, and professional learning to common standards via their commitment to their professional development.

Learn more about the roles of Medical Associate Professions on the Health Careers website

For more information about the benefits of employing Medical Associate Professions visit NHS Employers website

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