Assessing physician and anaesthesia associates

Newly qualified physician associates (PAs) currently must pass the Royal College of Physicians’ (RCP) PA national exam (PANE) to gain entry to the Faculty of Physician Associates’ (FPA’s) managed voluntary register. There is no equivalent assessment for anaesthesia associates (AAs).

The RCP will continue to run the PANE after regulation begins as an entry requirement for our register. We are working with them and others to develop a new assessment to replace PANE which will test newly qualified PAs who have followed the new education framework. This will be called the PA registration assessment and will be used from 2025.

We have worked with the Royal College of Anaesthetists and others to develop an AA registration assessment (AARA). This will be a registration requirement for any UK AA graduates who start their course from September 2023 onwards.

Until recently there was only one AA training course in the UK and fewer than 30 graduates each year. They were assessed by their university, with input from external examiners from the Royal College of Anaesthetists.

There are now three UK courses and over 100 AA students each year. To make sure all new AAs entering the workplace have met a consistent standard, a new AA curriculum is being introduced from September 2023 which will prepare students to sit the AARA from 2025. This assessment will provide assurance to employers and patients, and bring AAs into line with other GMC regulated professions.

When regulation begins, international applicants for registration will be required to pass the relevant registration assessment.