Entitled ‘Supporting the extended surgical team’, the project signals an ongoing commitment by both Colleges to collaborate more effectively and, specifically, to continue to promote and support the extended surgical team and the vital work they do in delivering safe surgical care to patients.
SCPs are one of the four roles named as Medical Associate Professions (MAPs). The UK Government has agreed to support statutory regulation by the GMC for two of these roles, namely Physician Associates (PA) and Anaesthesia Associates (AA). This decision was made primarily on the basis that the majority of practitioners in these categories are currently from a non-healthcare background and therefore are not subject to regulation. In contrast, SCPs are registered healthcare professionals, typically from a Nursing or Operating Department Practitioner background, and are regulated by either the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) or the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC). Both regulators are highly experienced and competent in their approach to regulation. However, given the diverse role of an SCP who is likely to be now working towards a medical model of care often with a consultant surgeon as their clinical and educational supervisor, the Colleges are supportive of their regulation being the same as other professional roles within the Medical Associate Professional group.
In response, RCSEd and the RCSEng are working together to produce the following:
The project will be run on a bi-collegiate basis with the RCSEd and RCSEng as equal partners in all aspects of this development, and in collaboration with a range of partner organisations such as HEE, the higher education institutions who will deliver the curriculum, and SCP representatives, who have been invited to participate in shaping the project outcomes and who are all welcome contributors to the project.
It is intended that the project will not only support SCPs but also the wider surgical team. In particular, junior doctors and surgical trainees will benefit from their expertise, and as SCPs provide further service resource for patient care, it will enable surgical trainees to attend teaching or theatres and assist employers in managing the service needs within their organisations. It will also offer support and clarity to existing regulators in providing a consistent approach to supporting SCPs. We would welcome engagement from other stakeholders to ensure that the project brings value to all.
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