MAPs placement throughout the NHS is causing safety concerns and workload issues, survey finds

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12th May 2024 15:44 - Health

MAPs placement throughout the NHS is causing safety concerns and workload issues: A recent survey has found that the inappropriate deployment of medical associate professionals (MAPs) within the NHS has caused doctors’ workloads to increase, rather than decrease. The report from the British Medical Association (BMA) also concluded that poorly used or misplaced MAPs can have a negative impact on patient care.

The BMA conducted this association survey, involving more than 18,000 doctors, to investigate concerns over the increased employment of MAPS across the NHS. Only 21% of respondents stated that the presence of added MAPs had reduced their workload, compared to over half (55%) who stated that the employment of more physician associates (PAs) and anaesthesia associates (AAs) had actually increased their working load.

The research from the BMA also raised concerns over NHS patients’ safety. Ninety per cent of doctors working in primary care believed the way in which PAs were being assigned in the NHS was a risk to patient safety, with over 8 in 10 (82%) believing PAs were often working beyond their capabilities. And concerns weren’t just limited to primary care doctors, with 86% of secondary care doctors also stating that the way PAs and AAs are currently positioned in the NHS was ‘sometimes’ or ‘always’ a risk to the safety of patients.

Following the findings from the report, the BMA is now calling for an “immediate pause” in recruitment until concerns with the regulation and supervision of PAs and AAs are addressed by the Government.

Speaking of this recent research BMA council chair, Phil Banfield, said: The Government and NHSE should be [instead] ensuring that PAs return to their original purpose of supporting, not replacing doctors, so that doctors can get on with utilising the diagnostic and treatment skills they have spent so long at medical school gaining their expertise in. Their scope should be strictly defined and, to ensure patients are not confused, the title returned to the more accurate “physician assistant” – then they can play their valuable role in supporting the delivery of NHS care safely.”

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