RCoA Position Statements

Change of title from Anaesthesia Practitioner (AP)
In 2008 Council of the RCoA agreed that we should change all of our current publications and other references relating to Anaesthesia Practitioner (AP) to the more appropriate title of Physicians' Assistant (Anaesthesia), short version - PA(A). The title 'Anaesthesia Practitioner' will now no longer be used.

The change in title was formally discussed by the National Practitioner Programme Implementation Group; however, this group has since disbanded and the work to implement the name change is currently stalled. Therefore, this College and the Association of Anaesthetists of Great Britain and Ireland, together with the full support of our Patient Liaison Group, have decided to make the change now for the following reasons:

  1. There are several non-medically qualified healthcare practitioners currently working in the UK under the title 'Anaesthesia Practitioner' who have not completed the appropriate course. This name is not a 'protected title' as described in legislation, therefore it may continue to be misused in this way.
  2. The new title is in line with that currently being used for equivalent grades working with physicians, GPs and surgeons. In addition, Physicians' Assistant (Anaesthesia) is the formal title already in use in Scotland for those who have successfully completed the RCoA/AAGBI recognised course.
  3. This standardisation of title will accelerate the route to appropriate registration for this group of specialty trained healthcare workers, encompassing all who have the descriptor Physicians' Assistant followed by the specialty suffix e.g. (Anaesthesia). Regulation for this body of expertise is long overdue and any logical change, such as this, that will hasten the process to formal registration is warmly welcomed to support appropriate professional recognition and clarity for patients.

In addition, it is considered that Physicians' Assistant (Anaesthesia) more accurately describes the role and purpose of these specialists. We would request that the title change is advertised widely, particularly by those in College representative roles, to ensure that as many as possible become aware of the change in the shortest time.

The documents and statements below (referring to APs rather than PA(A)s) are here for reference, whilst still acknowledging the official change of title.