RCPE Press Release

08 March 2012

The Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh (RCPE), which has over 2500 members in England [1], has decided to withdraw its support for the Health and Social Care Bill in its current form. The decision was made following a survey of its Fellows and Members in which 75% of respondents believed the Bill should be withdrawn.

The RCPE surveyed all of its Fellows and Members in the UK, given the potential implications of the Bill on the reserved (UK) matters of training and education. 75% of all respondents (and 76% of respondents in England) believed the Bill should be withdrawn. The poll asked respondents to indicate their support for one of two options –“ I believe the RCPE should call for the withdrawal of the Health Bill” or “I believe the RCPE should remain involved in seeking to influence the Health Bill”. A total of 4634 RCPE Fellows and Members throughout the UK were invited to vote in the poll. 1221 responded, giving a response level of 26% (27% in England). 55% of responses were from England and 45% from the rest of UK.

Dr Neil Dewhurst, President of the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh (RCPE), said,

“The RCPE has engaged with the consultative process for the Bill both directly and through the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges of the UK. Our aim has always been to protect quality of care for patients and the integrity of the NHS. Whilst it is clear that the medical profession has been successful in achieving significant changes, recent Amendments have not fully addressed our concerns, which remain particularly in relation to the effectiveness of the economic regulator (Monitor) in protecting service integration, the future of public health and the priority of medical education.

“It is clear that there is strong opinion within those who responded to our survey, reflecting the concerns of doctors about the impact of the Bill on the NHS and on patient care. Recognising the limitations of our sample size, we have stopped short of calling for the full withdrawal of the Bill but believe it is now necessary to withdraw our support for the Bill in its current form. We will continue to seek to influence the Bill for the benefit of patients.”


Contact: Graeme McAlister on 0131-247-3693 or 07733-263453

Notes to Editors

[1] Whilst based in Edinburgh, the RCPE has an international membership of over 10,000 Fellows and Members, primarily hospital specialists, worldwide - approximately 50% in the UK and 50% in another 80+ countries.

The RCPE is an independent professional membership organisation, concerned with the quality of medical care and, in conjunction with its sister Royal Colleges of Physicians (in London and Glasgow), jointly oversees medical standards throughout the UK via the MRCP(UK) examination, which enables doctors to enter specialty training, sets the curricula for the medical specialties and supports continuing professional development for all physicians.