Update From Paul Forsythe – RCoA/AAGBI Scope Of Practice And Toolkit

On Monday the 18th of April the Royal College of Anaesthetists (RCoA) and the Association of Anaesthetists of Great Britain & Ireland (AAGBI) in collaboration with the Association of Physicians’ Assistants (Anaesthesia) (APAA) have released an agreed scope of practice for newly qualified Physicians’ Assistants (Anaesthesia) (PA/A).

This document replaces the previous RCoA position statement of 2011, and signifies that both the College and AAGBI have an aligned policy on PA/As.


This scope of practice is presented as an appendix from the forthcoming: Planning the introduction and training for Physicians’ Assistants (Anaesthesia) Considerations for your Anaesthetic Department that has been published on the 22nd of April. This will update and replace the previous Department of Health (DOH) document: A toolkit to support the planning and introduction of training for anaesthesia practitioners (2007).


You will note two things from this document:

One, the RCoA has agreed to hold and run the managed voluntary register (MVR) in preparation for and anticipation of forthcoming statutory regulation. The details of this have not been discussed in detail but in principal this has been agreed and approved by their Council. The APAA will meet with representatives of the RCoA in the near future. Like the one held by the APAA currently it will be free of charge to all PA/As.

Two, there is a revised 2016 scope of practice within this document that will be released at the same time. This will be badged by both the RCoA and the AAGBI for the first time in five years. It is now explicit in the title that this is a scope of practice for a newly qualified PA/As. It makes reference to the goal of statutory regulation and the RCoA proposal of holding the MVR. It recognises extended roles and the fact that local governance is playing a vital role in their development and administration. Also, there will be future discussion around what and how an experienced PA/A is supervised outside of the remit of this document.

From a political standpoint these two points, the APA(A) believe, will strengthen our move towards statutory regulation. Having buy in and support from all the main players in Anaesthesia will be vital moving forward.  This document shows that the RCoA/AAGBI believe that PA/As have an important role in services provided currently and are part of the workforce solution for the future.

Paul Forsythe 


APA(A) RCoA Representative

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