Now that the initial COVID-19 peak has passed, the RCP is working with its members and NHS leaders to understand the scale of the challenge ahead in rebuilding services and plan what needs to happen in the coming months.
The RCP believes that our healthcare system must not simply return to how it was pre-pandemic. From routine care to reducing health inequalities, particularly for people from ethnic minority backgrounds, we have the opportunity to embed long term improvements.
This page details the work done by the RCP, particularly with the medical specialties, to support the resetting and rebuilding of services. It also links to useful resources produced by NHS England and other health organisations.
A series of videos from physicians and NHS leaders, outlining how services are being reset and challenges being addressed in a number of different specialties.
- Returning the NHS to an even keel (June 2020)
Providing insight into the challenges facing medical specialties, this briefing shows that almost half of physician specialities, including cardiology, gastroenterology and rheumatology, expect to be working at less than previous pre-COVID activity levels for at least 12 months or more.
- Priorities for future COVID-19 wave planning (July 2020)
This briefing outlines the RCP's six priorities for future COVID-19 wave planning, covering estate, flu vaccine, workforce, PPE, partnership working and workforce.
- Improving medical pathways for acute cure (July 2020)
Transforming the urgent and emergency care pathway is crucial to ensure patients are confident they will receive timely urgent and emergency care in a safe environment, delivered on the basis of clinical need whether by primary or secondary care servuces. This joint statement by RCP, RCEM, RCGP and SAM sets out 10 recommendations for how we should work together now to deliver this transformation.
- Recommendations for continued care and support of people who are clinically extremely vulnerable (August 2020)
Highlighting challenges faced by both doctors and patients in identifying and reducing the risks associated with COVID-19 for the clinically extremely vulnerable, this joint statement makes recommendations for government, the chief medical officers and NHS bodies on shielding and delivery of care for those deemed to be at high risk.
- RCP priorities for the rebuilding of services (June 2020)
Stressing the need to do things differently to embed improvements and tackle health inequalities, this statement lists nine priorities including improving the design of services such as outpatients, tackling our ongoing workforce challenges and protected time for clinicians to engage in quality improvement, service redesign and research.
- Rebuilding the NHS - Resetting outpatient services for the 21st century in the context of COVID-19 (July 2020)
This statement by the RCP and the RCP and Royal College of General Practitioners outlines how primary and secondary care should work collaboratively to reset outpatient services. Financial reform to introduce a “blended” payment model is needed by the NHS to encourage these necessary changes.
Highlighting findings from two membership surveys on the significant impact of COVID-19 on the workforce, this submission called on the government to bring forward the NHS People Plan without delay, supported by additional funding to place the NHS workforce on a stronger footing for the years ahead.
Co-badged with the RCP, the following specialities have produced the following short plans to outline the key considerations in resuming and recovering services in the context of restraints on capacity as a result of COVID-19.
- Infectious diseases
- Nuclear medicine
- Letter to Chief Executives from Sir Simon Stevens and Amanda Pritchard
Third phase of NHS response to COVID-19 (July2020)
- Operating framework for urgent and planned services within hospitals (May 2020)
Other royal colleges
- Academy of Medical Royal Colleges - Principles for reintroducing healthcare services (May 2020)
- RCEM - Resetting emergency care (May 2020)
- RCoA - Restarting planned surgery (May 2020)
- RCOphth - Reopening and redeveloping ophthalmology services (May 2020)
- RCS England - Recovery of surgical services (May 2020)
- RCPCH - Principles for recovery (May 2020)
Other health organisations
- National Voices - five principles for the next phase of the COVID-19 response (June 2020)
- British Society for Heart Failure - Planned recovery phase of essential heart failure services (July 2020)
- NHS Providers Deputy Chief Executive - We must have an honest debate about priorities to resume routine NHS services (May 2020)
- Joint response from Health Foundation, The King’s Fund & Nuffield Trust: Restarting health a