Times letters: Doctors urged to take responsibility for NHS

We responded to calls for doctors to 'take responsibility' for the NHS. Our joint letter was published in The Times.

Sir, On a day when Sir Michael Marmot’s landmark review shows health inequalities widening beyond belief, it is disheartening to see quotes about doctors “moaning” and “sitting on their hands” (report, Feb 25).

The Royal College of Physicians and Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health represent 56,000 doctors, who work incredibly hard in some of the most challenging times that the NHS has faced. Most doctors are so overwhelmed with the pressures of the NHS that they feel unable to change the system around them. The public rightly expects doctors to be honest about the challenges they face, particularly when the facts and figures are indisputable: there simply are not enough doctors to treat the growing number of patients, many with an increasingly complex range of conditions. The focus should be on the urgent calls for the government to adopt the recommendations made in the Marmot review and to close the health inequalities gap, not on the doctors who are on the front line, saving lives.

Professor Russell Viner, president, Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health

Professor Andrew Goddard, president, Royal College of Physicians