RCP comment on GMC state of medical education and practice report

The RCP has responded to today’s report from the General Medical Council (GMC) warning of a future workforce crisis that could be compounded by Brexit amid a fragmented approach to the recruitment and retention of doctors.

RCP president Professor Andrew Goddard said:

The report published today by the GMC on the state of medical education and practice in the UK would make for stark reading if it didn’t simply confirm what we, our members and many others have been saying for several years now.

But the language used by our regulator is significant: it says we are at a ‘critical juncture’, that staff shortages are ‘severe’ in some places, the pressures on the medical workforce are ‘huge’, that strategies we are having to take to cope are ‘risky or unsustainable’, and we are ‘at the brink of a breaking point’.

As we enter another winter fearful for the safety of our patients, it is time to say: enough is enough.

Professor Andrew Goddard, RCP president

When the guardian of patient safety is moved to use such language over and over, the government must take notice. We trust that the imminent long-term plan for the NHS will include doubling the number of medical students, the expansion of the Medical Training Initiative, and more support for SAS (specialty and associate specialist) doctors.

Without such relief, it is clear from this report that the safety of patients and doctors themselves will be increasingly under threat. As the GMC says, the costs to the wellbeing and work-life balance of some of our colleagues are significant, and not sustainable.

So as we enter another winter fearful for the safety of our patients, it is time to say: enough is enough.