ICUsteps would like to reinforce the disappointment expressed by the Faculty of Intensive Care Medicine in the recommendations in the recent consultation document on the Regulation of Medical Associate Professions in the UK.

The consultation document concludes that Advanced Critical Care Practitioners (ACCPs), Physician Assistants (Anaesthesia) and Surgical Care Practitioners do not need statutory regulation. Statutory regulation is the most thorough form of assurance for patients and relatives.

The twelve UK regulatory bodies which regulate health and social care professionals are the gatekeepers to the professions which they regulate. They set the educational requirements needed to enter a profession and the standards required to practise safely and effectively in each profession.

ACCPs are an integral part of the critical care team providing timely care for patients and their families. All come from a background of critical care nursing or physiotherapy which keeps experience at the bedside. Trained ACCPs work on the ICU medical rota replacing medical trainees. The role has been developed in conjunction with the Faculty of Intensive Care Medicine and is fully supported by the Intensive Care Society.

Regulation has been a long-term aim and ensures those calling themselves ACCPs have met the required standards and provides assurance for patients and their families of a clear level of knowledge and skill. The lack of statutory regulation could allow poorly functioning ACCPs to continue practicing and potentially put patients’ health at risk.

We hope that the Department of Health will listen to the comments from the consultation. We urge patients, relatives and all healthcare professionals in the critical care community to make their voices heard to ensure that ICU patients and their families are given the protection that statutory regulation will give.