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Physicians on the front line: The medical workforce in Wales in 2016

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The RCP's new report, Physicians on the front line: The medical workforce in Wales in 2016, calls for a long-term vision for the Welsh NHS that shows real ambition on service change, a focus on recruiting more Welsh-domiciled medical students to train and work in Wales, and a national medical workforce strategy that will break down the barriers between hospitals and the community.

Key recommendations

The RCP has identifi ed the following key priorities:

Show vision and national leadership

  • Develop an ambitious long-term vision for the NHS in Wales.
  • Increase investment in new models of integrated health and social care.
  • Develop a national medical workforce and training strategy.
  • Show national leadership on the balance between service and training.
  • Work with physicians to redesign acute and specialist medical services.
  • Ensure that hospitals work within formal, structured alliances to deliver integrated care.
  • Establish the role of chief of medicine, supported by a chief registrar.
  • Publicly support and promote the patientcentred Future Hospital model of care.
  • Increase health spending and invest in clinically led innovation and prevention.

Invest in the medical workforce

  • Take a strategic approach to workforce planning.
  • Ensure that the acute admissions workload is more evenly distributed between all specialties.
  • Train a greater proportion of doctors in the skills of general medicine.
  • Support physicians working in non-training jobs to develop their careers.
  • Invest in data collection to provide a robust evidence base for medical recruitment planning.
  • Make staff health and wellbeing a national priority.

Support the clinical leaders of the future

  • Promote Wales as an excellent place to live and work as a doctor.
  • Focus on addressing recruitment and training challenges.
  • Increase the number of undergraduate and postgraduate training posts in Wales.
  • Develop training pathways specialising in rural and remote healthcare in Wales.
  • Increase the number of medical school places offered to Welsh domiciled students.
  • Improve the support available to junior doctors in rural areas.
  • Invest in clinical leadership and training programmes.
  • Appoint chief registrars in every health board to give trainees a voice.

Develop a new way of working

  • Encourage health boards to implement the RCP Future Hospital workforce model.
  • Deliver more specialist medical care in the community.
  • Invest in new innovative ways of working across the entire health and social care sector.
  • Lead the way by developing new integrated workforce models in rural communities.
  • Develop the role of community physician.
  • Address nurse shortages and develop other clinical roles in the NHS workforce.
  • Further embed telemedicine into everyday practice.


This report follows the publication of Focus on the future, our action plan for the new Welsh Government, and Rising to the challenge, which sets out our vision for acute care and the future hospital model in Wales. Through our policy development, our work with patients, and our local conversation visits to hospitals, we are working to achieve real change across hospitals and the wider health and social care sector in Wales.