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RCP publishes policy position statement on workforce planning

‘NHS workforce planning: the case for transparency and accountability’ sets out the RCP’s view on expanding medical school places and establishing transparent processes to ensure the NHS has sufficient workforce.  

The pandemic has underlined the importance of a strong health and care workforce. Having the right amount of health and care staff – including doctors, nurses, medical associate professionals, allied health care professionals and those working in social care – is the only way to keep up with patient demand and improve retention.  

The new position statement from the RCP brings together its long-standing call to double the number of medical school places with the opportunities to establish transparency and accountability on long-term workforce planning in the forthcoming health and care.   

The Office for National Statistics projects that the number of people aged 85 years and over is set to double from 1.6 million in 2018 to nearly 3 million in 2043. At the same time, it’s expected that 35% of consultants will retire in the next decade and is a growing trend for less than full time working among clinicians. The RCP believes we need to act now to prepare for these challenges which we know are coming.  

The RCP is calling for:  

  1. The number of medical school places to be doubled over the next decade, with a specific focus on widening participation in medicine  

  1. Legal duties to be introduced in the health and care bill to ensure transparency and accountability on whether we are training enough people now to meet future demand. Specifically, the RCP believes the forthcoming legislation should:  

  • Place a duty on a national ‘designated body’ to regularly publish workforce projections.  

  • Place a duty on the secretary of state for health and social care to respond to projections with a plan for what government will do.