RCPCH responds to GMC report on wellbeing for doctors

Today the General Medical Council (GMC) published ‘Caring for doctors, caring for patients’, which sets out an ambitious and welcome vision for a health service that supports doctors’ wellbeing and patient safety.

Professor Russell Viner, President of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health said:

Many of our members are stretched, stressed and burnt out. In paediatrics this is partly due to rising demand and partly because we don’t have enough people to deliver the kind of service that children and young people deserve.

We welcome and support the solutions in the General Medical Council report. Sadly, the vision of a properly resourced NHS, with enough capacity to support patients and healthcare workers, feels a long way from the current reality.

We are not surprised by reports of exhausted doctors, chaotic rotas, and unmanageable workloads. This is the reality of a system that is struggling to cope. The pressure of holding it together weighs down on doctors and healthcare workers and we are reaching the limits of what’s possible. The impact on patient care is inevitable – but it is also avoidable.

Supporting the wellbeing of medical students and doctors is vital for the delivery of high-quality patient care. We fully support the recommendations to create safe, supportive and inclusive working environments. Cultural change, inclusive leadership and strong local induction are important levers to get there.  We must also tackle our grave workforce pressures, both to attract new paediatricians and to retain them in the health service. Our own research shows the UK needs an additional 856 paediatricians just to meet current demand.