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RCP responds to GMC workforce report

The RCP has responded to the General Medical Council’s (GMC’s) workforce report - The state of medical education and practice in the UK.

In response to the report, Dr Sarah Clarke, president of the Royal College of Physicians, said:

“Today’s report from the GMC enables us to better understand the trends that have contributed to the overall growth in the NHS medical workforce. The analysis highlights the 40% increase in the number of international medical graduates over the last five years, while the number of UK graduates in the workforce increased by 10%. The RCP firmly believes the NHS must be open and welcoming to international colleagues, but we must aim to train more doctors in the UK, which is why we have long called for the number of medical school places to be expanded to 15,000. Recruiting internationally is not a sustainable long-term solution.

“The GMC report also highlights that if trends from the last five years continue, staff, associate and specialist (SAS) and locally employed (LE) doctors will be the largest UK medical workforce group on the register by 2030. Last week the RCP called for it to be made simpler and faster for eligible SAS doctors to become consultants, to help address the impact of staff shortages in the NHS.

“It is concerning to hear that SAS and LE doctors have raised concerns about unsupportive work environments and restrictions on their continuous professional development. This is unacceptable in any context and must be urgently addressed. The RCP has highlighted the importance of tackling harassment and bullying of all health and care staff as a key part of retention.

“The NHS’s greatest asset is its workforce, and the GMC’s report reminds us that there is still much work to do to ensure the NHS retains and makes the best use of its staff. The only way we will resolve the workforce crisis is by taking steps to sustainably increase the number of health and care staff in the long-term. The long-term NHS workforce plan must deliver on this and we urge government to publish it by the end of this year.”