RCP policy: workforce

The RCP’s members and fellows are treating more patients than ever before. It’s vitally important that the NHS workforce receives the investment, support and recognition required for sustainability and to provide the best patient outcomes.

What we are doing

The RCP is working with colleagues across the UK to represent the needs of the NHS workforce to a range of stakeholders including ministers, politicians and NHS bodies.

The RCP works on a broad range of workforce policy and ensures that the voices of our members and fellows are heard to ensure we are able to provide high-quality patient care.

Workforce numbers

Morale and wellbeing


  • The RCP’s Future Hospital Programme has led to the creation of the chief registrar scheme, which establishes a new senior leadership role for trainee doctors.
  • We have supported the development of the Faculty of Physician Associates (FPA). Together, the RCP and the FPA have launched An employer’s guide to physician associates to help the introduction of the role in workforce strategy and planning.
  • After the review of postgraduate medical education and training, Shape of Training, conducted in 2015, resulted in a framework for delivering change to the current structure of postgraduate medical education, the RCP was pleased the report did not suggest a reduction in the number of years needed to train a doctor.

Medical Care

The online evolution of the well-known RCP publication Consultant physicians working with patients, Medical Care is a comprehensive web-based resource written by leading medical specialty experts and divided into two sections: designing services and developing physicians.

Stay updated

Follow @RCPLondon on Twitter to stay informed about what we are doing. You will also find the latest workforce policy news on our website.

What we have produced

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.
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.
As levels of need rise in hospitals that operate with no slack, the RCP's 'NHS reality check: Delivering care under pressure' report lays out what this means for patient care through the voices of over 2,100 doctors.
'Focus on physicians' is the 2016–17 census of the consultant physician and higher specialty trainee (HST) workforces in the UK.
This report explores the challenges that face the NHS from the perspective of junior doctors, and it is drawn directly from their experiences.
This report collates hospital doctors’ experiences of working in NHS hospitals between December 2016 and January 2017.

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

This report focuses on developing the evidence base to support new ways of assessing and improving doctors’ morale.
The NHS is already understaffed and overstretched so the RCP seeks reassurance that doctors from the EU can remain in the UK and that the UK is an attractive place to work in future.
The RCP’s response calls on the government to introduce a positive and welcoming migratory system for doctors to ensure a sustainable and safe NHS.
The RCP's consultation response to the UK government's proposal to expand undergraduate medical education.
These Tell us your story case studies are real-world examples of clinical services in the UK that run 7 days-a-week.