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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.


Peter worked on behalf of HEE for a number of years, firstly leading on the pharmacy programme and then as the Chair of the Medical Associate programme. He brought great strength to our work through his academic background and his ability to connect people from all parts of the education community. He did so with grace and finesse, having a great ability to sensitively manoeuvre through difficult changes.

His national leadership of the Medical Associate programme has brought about significant change – moving from his own physician associate (PA) programme at St Georges in 2008 with 20 graduating, through to a national movement with now 35 PA courses producing over 1,000 graduates a year. This will fundamentally change the way hospitals and primary care staff their medical needs and Peter was pivotal to making that happen.

HEE and the NHS owe Peter so much. He was our advisor, guide, and friend. He will be missed by so many.


Below are some of the messages of condolence we have received:


"So sad and sorry to hear this news and a huge loss for those who have had the chance to benefit from his wisdom, advice and compassionate leadership. Sincere condolences to his family, friends and colleagues everywhere" Claire Shannon, RCOA


"Peter was wise, incisive, thoughtful and passionate and always a genuine pleasure to work with – he invariably made us feel really valued and respected as colleagues.  He will be much missed and our thoughts are with his family, friends and everyone who worked closely with him". Ellie Pattinson, NHS Employers


"So sorry to hear this sad news and our thoughts are with his family, friends and colleagues during this very difficult time". Wendy Preston, RCN


"Peter was highly respected, an excellent opinion on how to proceed with sensitive issues and a great Chair of the MAOB. His wise counsel will be greatly missed by us on the Board. I hope we can honour his commitment to bringing the proposed career progression of MAPs and the statutory regulation of all on the MAP group, which he was so passionate about, to full resolution". Charles Auld, RCS Ed


"I found Peter to be ever kind, inclusive and passionate. It takes a special Chair to make everyone feel valued and heard, even when his experience, expertise and intelligence is far superior to that of some in the group (I speak of myself, particularly when I first joined the MAPs board). He was wonderful to know, and work with".  Hanna Murphy, NHS Employers


"I am so very saddened to hear of Peter’s passing – such a kind and thoughtful man as you have already recognised. I can only imagine how this news must have affected you all as you worked so very closely with him, and it will be his legacy that the regulatory work is on the very cusp of conclusion".  Donna O’Boyle, Scottish Government


"So sorry to hear this. Peter was a strong supporter of the MAP programme. We were very fortunate to have his expertise and leadership in the beginning of this process. His pragmatism and ability to listen will be sorely missed". Carole Boulanger, FICM


"I was saddened to hear of Peter's passing. On sharing the news with my committee, I heard many stories from those who knew him as a figure within their medical school and they spoke highly and fondly". He was a sympathetic and inclusive chair in all of my experience on the MAP workstreams and I want to pass on both my committee's but also my personal condolences to Peter's family and those who worked closely with him. Matthew Tuck, BMA


"As RCP London Vice President Chair for education & training, I too want to offer my condolences on Peter’s death. He very generously gave me and my medical education manager @ RFH a great deal of his time going over PA background & career development options. We both appreciated this very much. He was clearly generous, patient, wise, knowledgeable & cared a great deal about PAs. He is a great loss". Aine Burns, RCP


"That is such sad news. I enjoyed working with Peter. He will be missed. Please pass on my condolences to his family". Clare Barton, GMC

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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