UMAPs Position Statement Regarding Unilateral BMA Imposition of Scope on MAP Workforce

Written by UMAPs Ltd

March 7, 2024

UMAPs deems that it is inappropriate for a union, that does not represent MAPs, to unilaterally redefine and attempt to impose a scope of practice on another profession, and as such the BMA are acting outside of their remit. This document was produced without stakeholder engagement or peer review. This is unprofessional and represents a wider problem within the BMA and we urge them to reflect on this.

This document evidences that the BMA seeks to reduce established medical roles back to the level of untrained non-clinical staff which undermines the skills, training and qualifications held by Physician Associates (PAs), Anaesthesia Associates (AAs), and Surgical Care Practitioners (SCP). These professionals have been embedded in teams across the NHS for over 20 years with starting scopes of practice developed by their associated colleges, societies, and professional associations. Largely, these professionals have undertaken Master’s level education in addition to their health science Bachelor’s degrees or preexisting healthcare profession.  

Today’s destructive scope document is in keeping with prior BMA activity to undermine and degrade the skills and contribution of MAPs, namely through the press and social media. We have seen professional and personal attacks on our members, resulting in dire consequences for our patients, and our members mental and physical health. NHS England would not continue the existence of MAPs if there was any doubt over the roles efficacy and safety. 

We heavily suspect the BMAs ‘anti-MAP’ movement has been significantly influenced by the reduction in locum positions for doctors, where they may earn up to £1200 a day, ie. over £150 an hour. While MAPs do not replace doctors, they are used to support medical teams, thereby reducing the £10 billion annual NHS locum bill. Economists state 80% of these medical vacancies were filled by locum doctors, prior to Physician Associates, accounting for 10% of the total NHS budget.  

This document published today grossly reduces the capacity of MAPs to care for patients and significantly changes the job descriptions, seriously impacting employers. The BMA’s conduct, to not engage with recognised healthcare professionals, puts patients at risk and contradicts NHS contract and Good Medical Practice guidelines as published by the GMC in 2024. This document is hostile and seeks to undermine patient confidence, promote fear among patients and MAPs and damage the wellbeing of their colleagues.

The BMA has no authority to set the scope of another profession as it is not within their remit, we welcome scope of practice development from recognised, informed and legitimate bodies such as the GMC, Royal colleges and the appropriate societies of the professions involved, namely, the FPA, UMAPs, AoAA, and the professional bodies related to surgical care practitioners. These bodies are best placed and entrusted to undertake this task to act in the best interests of patients, MAP’s and medical colleagues with safety as paramount. 

UMAPs will be meeting with relevant organisations to discuss this and ensure that MAP’s across the UK have a voice in these discussions. We are aware that events such as this will be a source of anxiety and disappointment for our professions and we would like to reiterate that we are here for you and to fight on your behalf. We would encourage you to become a member of UMAPs to contribute in shaping our future responses and campaigns, to engage with our growing community of MAPs from across the country and to help us with our fight for our professions. We are here for you.  

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