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Surgeons respond to General Medical Council (GMC) report ‘The state of medical education and practice in the UK 2023’

23 Jun 2023

In response to the General Medical Council (GMC) report ‘The state of medical education and practice in the UK 2023’

Professor Neil Mortensen, President of the Royal College of Surgeons of England (RCS England) said:

In surgery, we see the effects of staff shortages every week when the absence of theatre nurses and anaesthetists lead to operations having to be cancelled at short notice.  Balancing flexibility with insufficient workforce numbers is an ongoing challenge. Managing home life and caring responsibilities when rotas are provided at very short notice, is a particular difficulty that has been raised by our members.

“With hospital waiting lists at a record high of 7.4 million people, NHS staff are under huge pressure.  Persistent vacancies leave many feeling disillusioned, overworked and at high risk of burn out.  Together with low morale, poor mental health, more staff prepared to take industrial action and ever-increasing demands, the NHS cannot afford to lose experienced staff who are willing and able to work.

“Surgical trainees are still catching up on missed training opportunities caused by the pandemic.  We must ensure that every planned NHS operation includes a surgical trainee, including those that take place in the independent sector.

“It is now time to deliver a workforce plan to tackle the chronic staff shortages impeding the day-to-day running of the NHS.  So much hard work has gone into the recovery and it would be devastating if we lost more of our workforce because they don’t feel valued.”


Notes to editors:

  1. The Royal College of Surgeons of England provides world-class education, assessment and development to 30,000 surgeons, dental professionals and members of the wider surgical and dental care teams, at all stages of their career. Our vision is to see excellent surgical care for everyone. We do this by setting professional standards, facilitating research and championing the best outcomes for patients.
  2. For more information, please contact the Press Office: Telephone: 020 7869 6053/6054/6047; Email:; Out-of-hours media enquiries: 0207 869 6056.


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