14 June 2024

Royal College of Physicians responds to the major parties’ election manifestos

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Earlier this month, the Royal College of Physicians (RCP) published A manifesto for medicine outlining key priorities the next government must focus on to rescue the NHS and re-establish it as a world-leading health service.  

Our manifesto made clear calls for workforce expansion, transformation of health and care services, a cross-government strategy to tackle health inequalities and prevent ill health, a focus on the climate emergency and ensuring research opportunities for every doctor.  

It also called for immediate government action to invest in digital infrastructure, NHS facilities and estates, and to commission a review of postgraduate medical training that looks at how doctors will learn and work in the future.  

Responding to the launch of main parties’ election manifestos, Dr Mumtaz Patel, vice president for education and training of the Royal College of Physicians, said: 

“Each major party has set out their plans to the nation and we are pleased they have heard many of our calls. We strongly welcome focuses on staff retention, a commitment to recruitment and policies focusing on preventing ill health, health inequalities and the impact of climate change on health.  

“But whilst many positive commitments have been made, real change will only come from immediate and decisive action – and in many cases, the devil will be in the detail. Whoever forms the next government must take clear, decisive action from day one to transform the health service in this country. 

“We must see an NHS which has the right number of staff to meet demand and delivers an environment where our workforce feel valued, supported and proud to work in the health service for the long term. We must see prevention truly placed at the heart of government policy, with a cross-government strategy to reduce health inequalities, with coordinated action to tackle the many societal causes that needlessly make us ill in the first place. They must transform clinical services, re-establishing the NHS once again as a world beater in diagnostics, research, service delivery and patient care.  

“It is crucial that we make every effort to retain the next generation of physicians in the NHS. Whether a doctor in a national training programme or working as specialty or specialist doctor, locally employed or an international medical graduate, every single physician deserves protected time for education, training and career development. 

“With medicine becoming ever more complex, our health service is currently leaning over a precipice – only swift action can pull it back from the edge. We must see the changes we and many others have long called for. The next generation of physicians and a future with excellent patient care depends on it.”