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Physician associate legislation waiting for 'parliamentary slot', says Jeremy Hunt

The Department of Health is committed to bringing in regulation for new clinician staff grades aimed to reduce pressure on GP workload, the health secretary has said.

The House of Lords committee on NHS sustainability said the GMC had submitted evidence suggesting the lack of a regulatory framework was delaying the implementation of these roles in the NHS.

The Faculty of Physician Associates (FPA) has said that ‘political instability’, including the UK leaving the EU and the fallout from the  junior doctors strikes, were factors behind ‘slow progress’ towards regulation of new staff grades.

But Mr Hunt said the only thing holding things up was MPs finding the time to make the legislation.

He told the Lords committee last week: ’We have committed to introducing legislation for regulatory reform. It is a question of finding a parliamentary slot.’

But he said there was also ’lots of things you can do without changing regulation’ and ‘we should be getting on and doing those’.

The health secretary said earlier this month that consultations on regulating physician associates would start next year.

Currently physician associates can join a voluntary register, operated by the Royal College of Physicians.

In the same House of Lords evidence session, Mr Hunt said that 'some of the most forward-thinking American healthcare organisations' have been able to achieve 'the the elimination of GP burnout' by introducing physician assistants.

Readers' comments (6)

  • Better get a wriggle on. We're desperate for a few more noctors

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  • THE GMC WILL STIPULATE THAT GPs WILL HAVE TO TAKE RESPONSIBILITY FOR THESE PHYSICIAN ASSOCIATES.
    EVENTUALLY THE "ASSOCIATES" WILL BE ON £50k FULL TIME AND THE GPs TAKING RESPONSIBILITY WILL BE ON £40K FULL TIME.
    YOU SEE THE GOVERNMENT HAVE A AN INCREDIBLY CRUDE AND CHILD-LIKE UNDERSTANDING OF MARKET FORCES

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  • Cheap care is not good care. You get what you pay for. Am I going to put my head on the block to cover them? No.

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  • Spuds

    You can shove the idea up your own Parliamentary Slot Jeremy

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  • Frankly speaking:

    'Forward thinking American healthcare organisations' should not be used as a model for the NHS in the U.K. Instead of looking for solutions abroad the DofH should be listening to those here on the front line

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  • Currently PAs get paid between 60and 65K and cannot prescribe so they are like chocolate teapots in most traditional practices so a registered situation would be good then they could prescribe.

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