UMAPs Statement Regarding Change in BMA Stance on Scope of Practice Position Statement

Written by UMAPs Ltd

April 14, 2024

UMAPs has heavily campaigned against the attempted infliction of the BMA scope of practice guidelines since its publication. Our response to this document was carefully curated and released here. We engaged with all stakeholders regarding the current situation over the course of the last few weeks and we are glad to see both an update from NHS England (NHSE) and the Faculty of Physician Associates (FPA) establishing an expectation for the supervision and management for a newly qualified PA.  

UMAPs has recognised guidelines coming from authorised stakeholders. NHS England (NHSE) released their newest guidance here in good faith. However, due to the misleading interpretations being published online by third parties, we sought clarification before forming our position. We engaged directly with NHSE and reported the outcome of that discussion here. This clarification from our discussions with NHSE helped stem some of the incidents we were seeing reported by members that put us into confrontations with employers.  

The FPA restated its current standards for the expectations of the role here. As the authorised stakeholder in charge of setting the standards of the profession, we very much welcome this detailed clarification of current expectations of the newly qualified PA and the standards for which they should be working within, in Primary Care, whilst we await the result of work carried out for the Supervision, scope of practice and career development pathway. 

In a surprise turn of events, we would like to welcome the BMA’s latest press release regarding their scope of practice document (found here). Whilst the vast majority of this position remains absolutely contested, the BMA has seen fit to make clear that their scope of practice document is a position statement and that “this guidance should not be treated as advice to members on their current interactions with MAPs in relation to issues such as supervision”. It is now clear that this document SHOULD NOT be being implemented as “advice” to employers. We will be reaching out to those still attempting to utilise this document to make this clear imminently. 

This is much-welcomed news for our members, UMAPs and, frankly, the GP Partners the BMA had put directly in a conflict situation with us – as the representatives for our members. We have always stated that the BMA is welcome to an opinion. Where we draw the line is the infliction of unilateral opinions, taking advantage of the status doctors have over the rest of the medical workforce. The FPA is the ONLY body that has the appropriate authority to set standards for our PAs, alongside the RCoA/AAA for AAs, both now and in the future and it does so in conjunction with stakeholders who engage with it in good faith. If the BMA can maintain its new course and is considering re-engaging with the wider more moderate medical profession to find suitable, safe, sensible and productive recommendations, then now would be the time to reach out –given this recent conciliation to remove the source of harm inflicting detriments on MAPs. 

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