Surgical Royal Colleges Bolster Support for SCPs with Launch of New Register

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31 Jul 2023

A new register that will allow Surgical Care Practitioners (SCPs) to demonstrate they are appropriately qualified has been launched by the UK’s two leading surgical Royal Colleges.

In a move that will strengthen the case for statutory regulation for SCPs in line with other Medical Associate Professions (MAPs), the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh and the Royal College of Surgeons of England have unveiled the flagship initiative alongside a new SCP Curriculum Framework. 

Medical Associate Professionals, also known as MAPs, are NHS employees working within multidisciplinary teams who are working to a medical model of care, and consists of Physician Associates, Anaesthesia Associates and Surgical Care Practitioners. This is a rapidly expanding workforce, and it is estimated that there are currently over 4,000 MAPs working in the UK.

The official database for SCPs, titled the Managed Voluntary Register (MVR) and supported by Health Education England, will provide an opportunity for practicing SCPs in the UK to demonstrate to their peers, employers, and patients that they are appropriately qualified and working to the standards set by the two Royal Colleges.

Charlie Auld, former Lead of the Faculty of Perioperative Care (FPC) at RCSEd, who has been involved in the project since its inception, said:

I am pleased to see this initiative come to fruition as for SCPs, joining the MVR demonstrates their commitment to professional development whilst bolstering the recognition, support, and career development by developing a revised and refreshed curriculum. 

The new official database for SCPs has garnered support from the current regulatory bodies and will provide an opportunity for both trainee and qualified SCPs to demonstrate to their peers, employers and patients that they are working to the standards set by the two Royal Colleges. The lack of a register leads to difficulty in quantifying the number of SCPs practising in the UK in addition to difficulties in monitoring the standards of education and training of these advanced practitioners.

SCPs play a vital role in strengthening the surgical workforce and alleviating the ongoing pressures that the NHS is currently facing when it comes to the delivery of care for patients. Therefore, having a register for SCPs to demonstrate their experience and standards of work, helps to offer these reputable professionals the recognition they deserve.

Bill Allum, an RCS England Council Member and Chair of the SCP National Advisory Committee who penned the new Curriculum Framework, commented:

The launch of this new curriculum framework is designed to deliver confidence in the role of SCPs and set the clinical, technical, and professional standards expected of a professional practitioner working in this defined role of surgical care.

We will continue to work closely with our partners in education, in addition to our colleagues at the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh to advance the role of the advanced practitioner in surgical practice.

Karen Smith, Director of Strategy, Workforce and Training at the RCS England, said:

The creation of the MVR and the new curriculum framework for SCPs demonstrates a collaborative approach and a profession-wide commitment to the role of the SCP within the surgical team and recognises the value of this role to patients, colleagues, trainees and the service. It is the precursor to further work across the two Colleges to support SCPs in the workplace to deliver their role to the highest standard.

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