05 July 2024

RCP responds to UK 2024 general election result

Houses Of Parliament

Dr Patel said:

‘We send our congratulations to the Labour party and the new prime minister, Keir Starmer, and we are ready to work with the new government and secretary of state for health and social care, Wes Streeting to advocate on behalf of our fellows and members for improvements to patient care and better working conditions for staff.

‘Before this election, we were clear that the next government needed to take urgent action to rescue an NHS in crisis. Too many doctors currently feel tired, undervalued and burned out. The health and care workforce is what makes our NHS such a powerful force for good, yet we risk losing many more doctors if we carry on like this.

‘Keeping staff in the NHS with a comprehensive retention strategy is absolutely critical. The RCP will continue to shout loudly about the importance of getting the basics right for staff. All physicians need protected time for education, training, career development, research and quality improvement.

‘We will work with the new government to increase access to patient care and bring down waiting lists –currently at a staggering 7.57 million – and we will continue to support the delivery of commitments in the NHS Long Term Workforce Plan to expand medical school and foundation places – but we are clear that the projections for growth of the physician associate workforce must be reviewed. It is critical that we train the next generation of doctors so we are ready to meet future patient demand. There is still a lot of detail to be worked through to make the doubling of medical school places a success, and we are ready to give our expertise and insight – but ultimately, we need more doctors, and successful delivery of this commitment must be a priority.

‘The Labour party manifesto commitment to addressing the social determinants of ill health which drive health inequalities is welcome too. We look forward to learning more about the proposal for a mission delivery board to bring together all departments with an influence over the social determinants of health. This will be needed to deliver the government’s pledge to halve the gap in healthy life expectancy between the most and least deprived regions. Tackling the growing societal causes of ill health requires a robust, coordinated effort that spans all government departments, which is why the RCP and the Inequalities in Health Alliance have been calling for a cross-government strategy.

‘This is a vital time for our NHS. The challenges are stark and urgent action is required. The RCP is committed to working with the government to deliver an NHS that works both for patients and staff.’