Fitness to practise for physician and anaesthesia associates

When regulation starts, physician associates (PAs) and anaesthesia associates (AAs) will need to follow professional guidance that sets out the principles of good practice. When a concern is raised suggesting our standards haven’t been met, like with doctors, we may need to investigate.

Reducing the impact of investigations

Over the last decade we’ve made our fitness to practise processes fairer, faster and more human. But we know there are still some myths about this part of our role. Only 11.7% of doctors have ever had a complaint raised about them to the GMC; only 0.77% have faced a warning or sanctions as a result*.

We know that being under investigation can be a difficult and stressful. Our webpages will contain information on the support available, our investigation processes and the actions we may take.

Potential outcomes

We take action to make sure we protect patients, maintain confidence in the medical profession and uphold the standards we expect of doctors.

Actions may include giving a warning, agreeing undertakings or referring to the Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service (MPTS). The MPTS has the power to restrict, suspend, or revoke registration in the UK.

Any sanctions given to doctors are published on the medical register according to our publication and disclosure policy. We’ll do something similar for PAs and AAs.

Regulatory reform

Our future fitness to practise model will be broadly the same for PAs and AAs as for doctors, but the detail may differ in some respects to reflect differences between the two professions.

At the same time as bringing PAs and AAs into regulation, the Department for Health and Social Care intends to update our regulatory framework to make it more flexible. Revised fitness to practise processes are likely to apply first to PAs and AAs, before being extended to doctors soon afterwards.

*Based on The state of medical education and practice in the UK 2020 data as at 4 July 2020. Figures use complaints logged since 2012.