Our role in shaping health policy

The Royal College of Physicians' (RCP's) mission is to drive improvements in health and healthcare. Our members are at the heart of the health service, working in hospitals across the UK.

What we are doing

We draw on our members' knowledge and expertise to develop evidence-based policy in key areas of healthcare. We champion medical professionalism and leadership, promote person-centred care and drive improvements in clinical practice.

Our 2019 policy priorities

At its September meeting, the RCP Council agreed our policy and campaigns priorities for 2019. Officers, committees and staff across the RCP were involved in drafting the priorities, which we asked fellows and members to rank in a survey in July.

Make sure the UK has a sustainable medical workforce that meets the needs of patients

We will work to increase the number of medical students; make the UK attractive and accessible to doctors and trainees from overseas; promote physician associates and other roles; and protect a safe, reflective learning culture.

Make sure UK health policy is led by the latest research and innovation

We will promote the benefits and challenges of new technology, and further advocate for protected time for research. We will continue to lead in supporting a research active medical workforce.

Make sure the UK takes an integrated and people-centred approach to health

We will protect the NHS as a universal service, properly funded and free at the point of delivery. We will work to integrate primary, secondary and social care, and physical and mental health. We will support taking a person-centred approach to health and care.

Make sure UK policy reduces health inequalities by focusing on prevention

We will promote the principle that prevention is better than cure. We will highlight the impact of deprivation, age and ethnicity. We will continue work on air quality, alcohol, obesity, sexual health and tobacco.

Working with government

The RCP regularly communicates and meets with government, parliamentarians and stakeholders to embed quality improvement across all health policy. We work across Westminster, Wales and the European Union.

Our activity includes:

  • providing MPs, peers and civil servants with independent advice to improve policy that is being developed and implemented
  • attending political party conferences, holding an annual peers' breakfast, and a series of parliamentary events every year to engage parliamentarians in our policy priorities
  • regularly preparing briefings and case studies, and highlighting key statistics for parliamentary debates and speeches.

Read our latest consultation responses

Working with our members

We encourage the RCP's members and fellows to engage with decision makers in order to highlight the challenges facing health and social care, and the impact of these on patient safety and staff morale.

Our members and fellows know the reality of working in an NHS which is underfunded, underdoctored and overstretched, and your campaigning activity can help to achieve real change.

Find out how to support RCP policy

What we have produced

'NHS reality check: Update 2018' returns to last year's key report and once again gives over 1,500 doctors working in the NHS the chance to discuss their experiences of delivering care in the UK health service.

At the end of 2017, Health Education England, NHS England, NHS Improvement, Public Health England, the Care Quality Commission, NICE and the Department of Health published a draft health and care workforce strategy for consultation.

The RCP’s four-point plan outlines the profession’s key calls for the next government, to ensure that the NHS is adequately resourced.
The RCP encourages members and fellows to engage with NHS decision makers in order to highlight the challenges facing health and social care.
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.
This report focuses on developing the evidence base to support new ways of assessing and improving doctors’ morale.

The Research engagement toolkit, produced by the Royal College of Physicians (RCP) with support from the National Institute of Health Research (NIHR), has been created to provide the information to physicians that will help you get engaged in research in lots of different ways.

In recent years, the work of physicians has become increasingly challenging, with an overstretched health and care system leading to pressure on hospitals.

We need an NHS that puts patients first. We need a system that enables doctors, nurses and others on the front line of the NHS to deliver the safest, most effective care, in whatever setting is most appropriate for each patient’s needs.

This report by the Royal College of Physicians (RCP), entitled Work and wellbeing in the NHS: why staff health matters to patient care, sets out why it is in the best interests of both patients and NHS organisations for the health, wellbeing and engagement of the NHS workforce to be prio

Hospital workforce: fit for the future? looks at the key challenges facing the medical workforce.