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President’s Statement on Health and Social Care Bill

10 February 2012

Following extensive discussion at today’s Council meeting (Thursday, 09 February 2012), Council overwhelmingly voted to ‘support the current College position of critical engagement with Government on the Health and Social Care Bill’. This was endorsed by the College’s regional Directors of Professional Affairs, the Heads of the Schools of Surgery, the Federation of Surgical Specialty Associations and the independent Patient Liaison Group.

Council agreed that the reduction of the national debate around the provision of healthcare to a polarised argument, for or against the Government Bill, is contrary to the best interests of patients. This masks the continuing challenge of delivering a comprehensive surgical service while the NHS attempts to save £20 billion by 2015.

The College has been highlighting the impact of these cuts on patient care - a pressure that has predated the introduction of the Bill. As a professional body we will fight for equality of access to NHS-funded treatment made available according to clinical need rather than budgetary constraints.

On five occasions during the passage of the Bill Fellows and Members have shared their views with the College and as a result of that feedback the College President has succeeded in achieving significant change to the benefit of patients and the profession.

The College is not a political organisation but must engage in debate as there are still significant areas of professional concern. The College seeks Members’ views on the following so that we can continue to have a dialogue with all political parties on these issues:

  • Equality of Access and Integration
  • Disintegration of current administration
  • Involvement of surgeons in clinical leadership and commissioning
  • Education and training (likely to be in further legislation in the next session of Parliament)

Please email your views to president@rcseng.ac.uk by 29 February 2012 so that we can put forward views whilst the Bill is being debated in the House of Lords.