The U.K. Royal College of Radiologists (RCR) has released a statement about the role of physician associates (PAs) in health care, following a board meeting on 2 November.
PAs are healthcare professionals who work as part of a multidisciplinary team with supervision from a named senior doctor. Their training usually lasts two years, and it focuses principally on general adult medicine in hospital and general practice, rather than specialty care. It also involves 1,600 hours of clinical training, including 350 hours in general hospital medicine.
The U.K's General Medical Council (GMC) recently proposed a seven-digit GMC registration number for PAs, but this proposal needs to be reconsidered, according to the RCR.
"It would be confusing, challenging and could impact patient care. We have alerted the GMC to our concerns and will continue to make the case for a different approach," the RCR said in a statement issued on 6 November.
Ultimately, the U.K. needs capacity in workforce, but it is essential that trainees are not compromised either in training or recruitment through the employment of PAs, according to the RCR. The organization added that it will continue to contact Trusts where it feels that "these red lines" are being crossed and will continue to work to ensure physician associates can support radiology and oncology departments effectively.