Medical Associate Professionals State of the Workforce Revealed

Written by UMAPs Ltd

March 7, 2024

UMAPs is an organisation created in November 2023 to unite the 3 strands of the Medical Associate Professions: Physician Associates, Anaesthesia Associates and Surgical Care Practitioners, after a noticeable uptick in negative press and social media posts. MAPs have been working in the NHS for 20 years, delivering effective care for patients as part of the wider MDT under the supervision of their supervising senior doctor after undertaking a year 2 postgraduate education after a health science or previous healthcare professional qualification, such as Nurse, Paramedic, Biomedical Scientist or Operating Department Practitioner, resulting in a minimum of 5 years of academic study. Some PAs have qualified in an integrated master’s programme requiring 4 years of study after A levels.  

To assess the state of the workforce UMAPs launched a survey into the working, home, and personal conditions of MAPs across the UK, with verifiable quantitative and qualitative data. The survey was hosted on the UMAPs website and required qualified MAPs to provide MVR data to assist in the verification of data and improve the reliability and statistical analysis.   

We asked MAPs if they felt the recent media climate had an impact on their professional life, home life, and mental health. We also asked if MAPs had considered leaving their roles due to the recent media climate.  

We had a total of 448 valid submissions to the survey, out of 4000 MAPs in the UK. Details were verified by comparing name and managed voluntary register (MVR) number to the Physician Associate (PA) MVR for PA’s and comparing name to the AA MVR for Anaesthesia Associates. Participants were asked to confirm they were not misusing the form.   

The results show that 75% of participants indicate that the current environment had affected their working environment, home environment, or both. Some effect to work environment would be expected with the current atmosphere however, that this has bled into home life shows how pervasive the bullying and harassment has become.   

92% of respondents indicated that the current environment has had a negative effect on their mental health ranging from increased anxiety to requiring medical treatment for the degradation in their mental health. This is a shocking statistic, and we hope that those engaged in behaviours and the spreading of misinformation pause for reflection on the real-life damage they are doing.  

81% of respondents reported considering leaving the profession entirely. This is huge proportion of the workforce to be considering this action and would represent a catastrophic blow to the provision of healthcare to a population already struggling with long waiting lists and diminishing access to care.  

In the free text, participants gave anecdotal experiences which will be released in an addendum in the coming days.  

These survey results paint a sobering picture of the current state of the MAP workforce. For all the positive contributions MAPs have made to patient care and the functioning of the national healthcare system, that they are now the target of a campaign that has had such devastating effects on their mental wellbeing, their work, home lives, and their morale for the continuation of the roles, is a travesty. We hope these results show that the discussions online and within the media have crossed a line from much needed debate to a destructive campaign that does not care for the personal harm it does to hard working members of the medical workforce. The NHS has been the subject of several scandals involving bullying and harassment, this has the potential to become the next one unless those in positions of responsibility take action to bring the debate back to a reasonable standard and put a stop to the abhorrent behaviour of individuals and organisations which seek to cause this harm.  

Provisional results of this survey, which showed similar statistics to the final results, were shared with key stakeholders on the 12th February 2024. Due to the nature of the findings and our opinion that there was a real risk of harm based on the information we were receiving. We felt that this needed urgently sharing with the appropriate organisations and so notified them of the preliminary findings.

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