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Consultation response: Long-term sustainability of the NHS

The RCP welcomes the opportunity to respond to the House of Lords select committee inquiry on the long-term sustainability of the NHS, which will investigate what the future of the NHS will look like. 

The RCP has long argued that we need to rethink the way we deliver healthcare: breaking down barriers between hospitals and the community, and working in partnership with patients to deliver joined-up care. To achieve this, we need a national health service that is funded to meet the needs of our ageing population.

Yet the NHS in 2016 is underfunded, underdoctored and overstretched.


  • The NHS will struggle to meet the requirement, set out in the NHS Five Year Forward View, to save £22 billion by 2020.
  • Moving to innovative new ways of delivering care across traditional boundaries – such as the RCP’s Future Hospital model – is essential. However, redesigning services does not always lead to cost savings in the long term.
  • The delivery of high-quality patient care is vital to the long-term sustainability of the NHS.
  • The UK does not train enough doctors to meet demand.
  • The use of other groups of healthcare professionals should be considered to fill the gap.
  • The expansion of the medical workforce will necessitate increases in medical school numbers, foundation training places, core medical training places, and specialty medical training numbers now.
  • Ensuring adequate funding, staffing levels and resources are key to making services more integrated, responsive and patient-centred.
  • Preventing ill health and improving health are amongst the most effective and cost-effective ways to ensure our health service is fit for future generations.
  • Cuts to spending on public health will have serious and lasting implications for both the health of communities across England and the long-term sustainability of the NHS.
  • Providers should use an agreed standardised structure and content for electronic records.


For more information please contact Methela Haque, RCP public affairs adviser: methela.haque@rcplondon.ac.uk.