PA and AA education: what have we been doing?

We’re working hard to shape lots of different policy areas, from registration to fitness to practise, as we prepare for future regulation. This is alongside the practical steps we’re taking, like updating our IT systems so we can register physician associates (PAs) and anaesthesia associates (AAs). One area that’s seen significant development over the previous few months has been education.

Quality assuring future PA and AA education

A key task for us is quality assuring existing PA and AA courses ahead of regulation beginning. Last summer, all 36 course providers completed and submitted a self-assessment questionnaire. Since then, we’ve reviewed their submissions and given them written feedback. We’re now meeting all course providers via video call to provide a chance to talk through what they shared and what we suggested.

"I have found the GMC team engaging and responsive to feedback from stakeholders. Given that they are planning to regulate a new profession I found the GMC team ready and willing to listen and learn about how PA education is currently delivered and how the new curriculum will be introduced. The regular updates and the regulation hub have been an invaluable resource"

Dan Meehan

Course Director, Physician Associate Studies, Ulster University

Alongside this, we’re arranging to carry out visits to some course providers. You might remember we advertised Education associate roles last year: the individuals we appointed will play an important part in these visits.

Developing the future curricula

We had a really positive response to the draft PA curricula – thank you to all who contributed views. We’re now working on integrating the feedback into the various documents that will make up the draft pre-qualification education framework. Next the curricula will be reviewed by an independent panel of experts, with the framework due to be published this summer.

Each PA course provider will update their syllabus and be teaching to the new framework from summer 2023 onwards. The 2023 cohort will be the first to sit the new PA registration assessment in summer 2025.

The AA curriculum is currently under development and will follow the same path to approval. We’ll provide updates on its progress via our community of interest newsletter.