The Royal College of Physicians (RCP) has announced a new three-year strategy that hopes to build towards a world in which everyone has the best possible health and healthcare.

The strategy was initially due to be published in 2020, but was delayed when the Covid pandemic hit. Now, while the strategy has the same broad principles, the context and focus have changed.

The RCP listened to their 40,000 members and shaped the core principles around the issues their members said matter the most to them. The three priority areas are:

  1. educating physicians and supporting them to fulfil their potential;
  2. improving health and care and leading the prevention of ill health across communities; and
  3. influencing the way that healthcare is designed and delivered.

Andrew Goddard, RCP president, said: “The RCP has a vital role to play as we emerge from Covid-19 and this strategy, clear-sighted in its three priorities, will ensure that we deliver what our members need and that the patients we all serve benefit from the best possible health and care.”

Educating and supporting physicians

The first priority aims to ensure that physicians are trained to the highest standard, so that patients can receive the best care possible.

To achieve this, the RCP says it will provide a suite of robust and fit-for-purpose examinations; develop and support the implementation of appropriate curricula, training pathways and credentials; and develop innovative education across a variety of platforms, specific to evolving professional roles.

To ensure physicians reach their full potential, the College will support continuing professional development; support clinicians to develop skills in leadership, education, research, improvement methodology and implementation science; and encourage medical best practice through its journals and wider publishing programme.

Improving health and care

The RCP acknowledges it has a wider duty to raise awareness of preventable illnesses, such as those caused by smoking, alcohol obesity and air pollution, as well as the health impacts of climate change.

As part of its mission to improve health and care and lead the prevention of ill health, the College will build networks and communities to support the physician community to lead and deliver improvements in practice; build an online portal to support networking and sharing of best practice and innovation; and collaborate and partner with national improvement activity and deliver programmes such as national audit and accreditation and invited service reviews.

It will also contribute to developments in digital healthcare; develop expert clinical guidance with partner organisations and medical specialty colleagues; and develop patient safety skills in medical teams.

Influencing healthcare design and delivery

Finally, the RCP says it will continue to work in partnership with other patient groups, health organisations and royal colleges to enhance the quality of medical care.

To do this, the College will maintain a constant awareness and understanding of developments in health and care policy and practice, drawn from its members and partners and through involvement in political systems; and develop RCP policy and influencing strategies to inform fellows and members through publications and other communications.

It will also provide insight into the medical workforce and healthcare systems with accurate data and informed analysis; promote equality of access to good health and care; encourage a more consistently research-active NHS; and use strategic communications, engagement and the RCP’s heritage to place the physician workforce and patients at the forefront of public debate about health.

Success of strategy will rely on continued engagement with members and stakeholders

The College says the success of the strategy will rely upon continued engagement with their members and stakeholders, as well as upon a commitment to diversity and inclusion, good governance and sustainability from throughout the organisation.

To read the full strategy, visit the RCP's website.