The RCP submitted evidence to the Common’s Health and Social Care Select Committee inquiry Delivering Core NHS and Care Services during the Pandemic and Beyond.
The evidence submitted to the Committee highlights findings from two memberships surveys carried out by the RCP, which reflect the impact of COVID-19 on the workforce. The submission states how the NHS has demonstrated its ability to adapt, change and innovate and emphasises that NHS staff have gone above and beyond to do their best by patients. It also outlines challenges which will need to be addressed in order to restart services that have temporarily stopped or been reduced while still managing the outbreak of COVID-19. The evidence calls 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.
The plan must involve a range of actions including:
- The fast-tracking of physician associate regulation (including consulting on prescribing rights) supporting this new profession to work to their full potential
- The further significant expansion of medical school places
- Increased support for flexible working patterns e.g. less than full time working and working from home when appropriate
- Recognition of the contribution of international staff through the granting of indefinite leave to remain to all health and social care staff who have supported the UK's response to the pandemic
- A meaningful focus on staff wellbeing to ensure that practices which have changed during the pandemic are embedded, such as 24-hour access to food and drink and rest facilities