The College and the FSSA are calling again for the government to introduce statutory regulation for SCPs

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26 Jul 2019

The Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh (RCSEd) and the Federation of Surgical Specialty Associations (FSSA) have again written to Stephen Hammond MP, Minister of State for Heath, calling once more for the government to introduce statutory regulation for surgical care practitioners (SCPs).

Whilst the Department for Health & Social Care recently last week announced that the General Medical Council will regulate physician associates and anaesthesia associates across the UK, surgical care practitioners – who as valued members of the surgical team perform surgical intervention under the supervision of a senior surgeon – will not be regulated in this way. Instead, they will continue to be under the auspices of the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) or the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC), meaning there will not be a unified approach to fitness to practise issues.

RCSEd President Mike Griffin said:

“By making the GMC responsible for physician associates and anaesthesia associates, the government has gone some way in acknowledging the changing nature of healthcare, with multi-disciplinary teams increasingly responsible for delivering care.

We strongly welcome this, so we are confused by the apparent reluctance to regulate SCPs in a similar manner. In doing so, the government risks creating a fragmented approach to building teams of healthcare professionals and undermining the training and development SCPs need to develop new skills and competencies.” 

RCSEd Fellow and Chair of the Faculty of Perioperative Care (FPC) Charlie Auld also pointed out the risk to patient safety, adding that 

"SCPs may have started their careers with fewer responsibilities than they have now. Over time many have developed skills and experiences whereby they now deliver more advanced care than they previously would have, so it makes sense that they are regulated by a single and consistent body such as the GMC." 

Nigel Merer, President of the Federation of Surgical Speciality Associations added that

“A register of SCPs would ensure that their education and training requirements, as well as adherence to standards through CPD can be monitored throughout the UK. This will enable SCPs to take on even more responsibility, adding much needed and properly monitored capacity into our stretched NHS.”




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