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Preparing for winter

In November 2017 the president of the Royal College of Physicians (RCP), Professor Jane Dacre, wrote to members and fellows to share some practical guidance for hospitals in the run-up to winter.

The guidance is intended for clinical and system managers. As well as referring to good practice – much of which the RCP has been involved in producing – the guidance responds to what members and fellows have told us about morale, working conditions and systems. These are therefore the key things that hospitals should be thinking about in the run-up to winter (although they also apply all year round).

Chief executives, medical directors, managers and physicians of all specialties need to work together to make sure that necessary systems are in place. In particular, physicians who provide specialty rotas alongside the general take must be able to deliver responsive 7-day services.

  • Hospitals should improve delivery of care by implementing good practice, as reflected in current standards and guidance.
  • Hospitals must put in place an organisation-wide plan for improving patient flow.
  • Hospitals must put in place facilities and plans to protect the physical and mental wellbeing of the workforce.
  • Hospitals must work in partnership with other local services to minimise unnecessary occupancy.

Tell us your story

We would like to know about your efforts to ease the pressure during winter or at any other time. We would therefore appreciate you telling us about your experiences over winter, much as you did for NHS reality check: Delivering care under pressure, Against the odds: Experiences from the NHS front line and Being a junior doctor.

In particular, please tell us if you are having any difficulties implementing this latest or any other good practice guidance. For trainee doctors, that might include support for exception reporting.

You can email winter@rcplondon.ac.uk or connect with us on Twitter through @RCPLondon. We look forward to hearing from you.