GPs will vote to block physician associates from ‘anything but admin’

10th May 2024 by NASGP

GPs will vote to block physician associates from ‘anything but admin’

GPs will vote over whether to block physician associates (PAs) from anything but admin at this year’s LMC conference, Pulse reports.

The second day of conference, held 23-24 May in Newport this year, will open with a motion that “condemns the use of physician associates in general practice for anything other than administrative or simple procedural duties”.

A survey of 18,000 doctors published in December found that the majority felt PAs pose a ‘significant’ risk to patient safety.

The Anaesthesia Associates and Physician Associates Order 2024 was debated in Lords at the end of February, was made law on 13 March, and is due to come into force from 13 December (bar the protection of titles, which will not come into law until 2026).

Dr Matt Mayer, a GP locum and out of hours GP and co-chief executive officer at Berkshire Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire LMC, sits as chair of this year’s agenda committee. Dr Rachel McMahon, a committee member, is also a locum as well as serving as CEO of Cleveland LMC and a member of the BMA’s Sessional GPs Committee.

Dr Richard Fieldhouse, GP and NASGP chair, said: “The laudable sentiment that comes through in this motion is unquestionable, in that the rollout of physician associates across England, at scale, lacked any suitable preparation, guidance, governance or regulation, and that action needs to be taken to refine this precious resource to reduce workload and improve patient care.

“However, let’s not undervalue our own roles at the same time, and create another problem without a proper definition of what administrative or simple procedural duties are. This needs careful thought; interpreting screens of blood test results in patients with chronic disease and polypharmacy can make a busy duty day feel like a walk in the park.

“Either way, this is going to be a fascinating debate and I look forward to a positive outcome here for patients.”

"I rely on the NASGP for advice and support. Having been a locum in the past without LocumDeck, I realise how much easier LocumDeck makes my life, especially as I don't enjoy admin. I can see at a glance how many bookings I have and where the gaps are. I have some practices who instant book me - booking directly into free sessions I have added. I would highly recommend it to others."

Dr Susannah Denny, GP, Berkshire

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