RCoA response to NHS England’s Next Steps on the NHS Five Year Forward View

Responding to the publication of NHS England’s Next Steps on the NHS Five Year Forward View, Dr Liam Brennan, President of the Royal College of Anaesthetists (RCoA) said:

“NHS England’s Next Steps on the NHS Five Year Forward View is a timely reminder of the remarkable efforts of NHS staff operating under increasing pressure. We fully support the move towards integrated care. This includes the improved provision of care for the elderly by bringing together services provided by GPs, hospitals, therapists, nurses and care staff, cutting emergency admissions and time spent in hospitals. Our perioperative medicine[1] pathway supports the principle of delivering tailored patient care, to enable healthier personal choices, and better patient outcomes. We also welcome the recognition that improvements have not been as quick as was hoped, with increased pressures on A&E partly caused by delayed transfers of care.

“However, we are concerned that patients will have to wait longer for routine operations. It is vital that doctors are central to decisions about their patients and local services. Too many doctors, including our members, are telling us that they are being left out of big decisions being made about their local health system. We recognise the financial realities of the NHS, but that cannot mean just chartered accountants should be left to chart the course. Healthcare professionals, who are caring for patients day in, day out, must be empowered to engage in the decisions which are impacting on their work.

“Action on NHS staff health and wellbeing must be one of the top priorities. We welcome plans to encourage hospitals to improve the health and wellbeing of their staff. However, we know from our own research nearly two-thirds (64 per cent) of anaesthetists in training feel their health has been affected by their job, and 85 per cent are at risk of burn out. In many cases we are talking about young men and women, dealing with life and death responsibilities in hospitals across the country.  More needs to be done.

“NHS England must be empowered to deliver a plan which supports the NHS needs, as without it we are heading for a tipping point from which it will be difficult to return. The College looks forward to continuing our discussions with NHS England to help shape what that support needs to look like for our patients, members and for the health service overall.”


  1. Perioperative medicine is the practice of patient-centered, multidisciplinary, and integrated medical care of patients from the moment of contemplation of surgery until full recovery. www.rcoa.ac.uk/perioperativemedicine

30 March 2017

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