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Underfunded, underdoctored, overstretched: The NHS in 2016

The Royal College of Physicians (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 health service that is funded to meet the demands placed on it by our growing population.

This report is the first of a series in our Mission: Health campaign which will be focused on three major themes – working for health, delivering health, and creating health. 

Time for action

The NHS in 2016 is under-funded, under-doctored and overstretched. Patients and communities deserve to know the true choice that we face: increase funding or cut care. The RCP believes they deserve more than that: an NHS funded and staffed to meet their needs, now and in the future. The NHS in 2016 needs a new plan – a plan designed to meet the UK’s health and care needs in the long term, and to value, support and motivate NHS staff.

Increase NHS funding

The NHS budget has not kept pace with rising demand for services. We need a new NHS budget that:

  • meets the demand for health services
  • sets realistic targets for efficiency savings
  • protects funds for transformation
  • invests in the long-term sustainability of the NHS.

Train more doctors

The UK does not train enough doctors. Hospital teams are feeling the pressure of staffing gaps. That’s bad for them, and it’s bad for patients. We need to:

  • increase the number of medical students and doctors training to be hospital specialists
  • incentivise doctors to work in the most challenging and in-demand areas of medicine
  • take cross-governmental action to relieve immediate pressure on the NHS workforce.

Improve the working lives of NHS staff

Being a doctor is intense, rewarding and challenging. A cared-for workforce delivers better outcomes for patients. In late 2016, the RCP will launch a new campaign to value and support doctors working in the NHS. We will:

  • work with our member doctors to find new solutions to workforce pressures
  • push for action from across government and the NHS
  • showcase the very best of medicine.

Join us! Tweet your support: #medicineisbrilliant

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