Since its launch in January, membership of the insight panel has grown to over 1,800 members. To demonstrate how the time Fellows and members are dedicating to the panel is having an impact, we’ve provided an update below on how the survey results are being used.
We welcome any feedback you have on the panel, please share this with firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Positioning the RCR
- Stress and burnout
- RCR communication channels
- NHSE Tariffs
- Regional visits
- RCR website
- Medicine and the environment
- AI survey results
- Annual conference
- Modernising Council and SLT
- Winter pressures
- External affairs
- Wellbeing and burnout
1. Positioning the RCR
- January 2022
Our first survey asked you how you feel about the RCR as an organisation, what our purpose is and how you think we should change. We found the results interesting; you told us you would like the RCR to remain credible and authoritative, but you also want us to be more dynamic, innovative and responsive. There was relatively equal weighting given to different priorities for the RCR (see below). The results of this survey are being used to underpin a project to review and refresh how we position ourselves, including how we look and feel as an organisation. This is important because positioning can make a huge difference to how organisations engage their members, supporters and customers. Our project will look to assess how we can remain relevant in a changing world and ensure we feel relevant to all our members.
Ranking in order of importance to you. Number 1 is the most important and 3 is the least
2. Stress and burnout
- February 2022
We ran a survey on stress and burnout, which unsurprisingly found that respondents are experiencing varying levels of burnout (image below). We are using the results of this survey alongside our 2021 census reports, to highlight the impact that the workforce shortage is having on doctors, patients and their care. The 2021 censuses are due to be published at the end of June 2022.
What is your current state of burnout?
3. RCR communication channels
- February 2022
We shared a survey to find out more about members’ views on how we communicate with you. These survey results will be used to inform how we tailor our communications going forwards, though due to a lower survey response rate, we will be mindful that the smaller pool of responses may not fully reflect all views. This survey highlighted the need to consider which survey topics are most interesting for our members in addition to considering topics which may be of more interest to RCR teams.
4. NHSE Tariffs
- March 2022
The Insight Survey on Tariff was commissioned to provide insight into members’ views on proposals for a consultation on tariff in England. It also aimed to gauge levels of knowledge and whether a broader education piece was needed by NHSEI to help our members understand the implications of these proposals, so that the consultation could be meaningful. We referenced the results in the 10 Year Cancer Plan consultation by the Department for Health and Social Care, highlighting that whilst Government wanted to make diagnosing and treating cancer a priority, often specialist imaging, for example MRI for prostates, was loss-making for a department and at odds with the broader strategy.
One question showed a gap in terms of understanding of NHSE tariff changes and implications (image below), prompting us to urge NHSE in their (re)consultation to do more to increase understanding of the system used to pay for activity.
|My level of understanding of the implications of changes made by NHSE/I to tariff and how they affect my department is:|
5. Regional visits
- March 2022
Our survey around regional visits was aimed at understanding whether members know about the visits and what they like and dislike about them. It was clear that you find value in our Officers visiting your region to hear more about the challenges you are facing. You also told us you want to hear from the RCR about our strategy and work on behalf of members.
However, current awareness of the regional visits is relatively low and in their current format don’t meet everyone’s needs. Therefore, we are using the results to reconsider how we promote them and reconfigure the regional visit meetings to ensure they better meet the needs of Fellows and members both in the UK and globally.
6. RCR Website
- April 2022
We are currently working on a project to update and improve our website to better meet members’ needs and so we wanted to canvas our insight panel members views on the current RCR website to inform this work.
We are looking at whether the RCR website is useful and easy for our members to use, so were glad to see that around 38% of respondents found it easy to find the information they were looking for. However, 16% find it difficult and 36% found it neither easy nor difficult, so we will be looking to make improvements to navigation to ensure that everyone finds the information they need easily. We will also be considering what additional information members require on the website.
Broadly, respondents were moderately satisfied with the current RCR website with an average score of 6. However we will be using the results of this survey and other research to inform improvements to the website, that members will see when the new website goes live in 2023.
7. Medicine and the environment
- May 2022
In the Spring 2022 issue of the RCR Newsletter, we committed to tackling climate change and explored the potential for environmental sustainability in our specialties. We followed up this Newsletter with an insight panel survey to gauge members’ views on medicine and the environment.
This survey got a 16% response rate, which is lower than the insight panel average of 24% which implies that panel members are less interested in this topic as a whole, compared to other surveys we have run. We will use this information to inform other relatively niche surveys we think about running.
However, the survey yielded some very interesting results. Unsurprisingly those members who engaged with the survey are either very concerned (54.24%) or quite concerned (37.39%) about the effects of climate change in the coming years. Opinions around whether or not the NHS will meet the target of net zero emissions by 2045 were more divided, with 43.64% of members feeling it was somewhat achievable versus 33.90% who felt it was not achievable. 67% of respondents felt that upgrading heating systems and/or improving building insulation has the highest potential impact on reducing carbon emissions, within UK healthcare.
We will be using the results of this survey to promote our members’ views across our social media channels and to inform our policy work.
- May 2022
The recent Insight Panel survey on equipment needs and digital connectivity gave us some incredibly useful data to share with the Government. We can’t thank you enough for responding to the questions and providing us with unique insight into the situation you are facing on the frontline.
Firstly, we incorporated the concerning statistics into our written response to the Health and Social Care Select Committee’s (HSCC) inquiry into ‘Digital transformation in the NHS’. The HSCC will now write a report based on the evidence submitted and make recommendations to Government.
Additionally, we shared the data in a written response to APPG on Healthcare Infrastructure’s inquiry into the ‘Short, Medium and Long term needs for NHS infrastructure’. RCR President, Dr Dickson, also gave oral evidence alongside other industry specialists. The report, due to be launched on 12 July by Ed Argar, Minister for Health, aims to influence the Government’s upcoming Capital Strategy. This Strategy will outline how the Government plans to meet digital connectivity and infrastructure demands. As a result of this APPG engagement Dr Dickson has been invited to meet with the APPG Chair, Chris Green, to discuss our data and recommendations further.
Finally, we have incorporated the survey results into MP debate briefings to raise awareness of the issues you are facing. This has led to MPs, such as Peter Dowd in the Future of Community Pharmacy debate, talking about infrastructure and equipment challenges in Westminster Hall.
9. AI survey results
- June 2022
Interestingly, when the panel was asked what impact they believe artificial intelligence in radiotherapy would have on their role, just over 78% of respondents believed that it would have a positive impact on their practice, by helping to reduce their workload. Opinions around risk for patients was a little more varied, however approximately half (49%) felt it would decrease risk, for example due to faster, higher quality or more consistent contours. There also appears to be some potential for auto-contouring to save time, with 60 of respondents saying it saves anywhere from up to 30 minutes to over an hour per week.
We have now shared the results with the AI in Clinical Oncology group, the Radiotherapy Board for information and our external affairs team to ensure we maintain momentum in the press around these important workforce issues, following the launch of our 2021 Census reports.
- June 2022
We ran a survey to understand how our insight panel members' holidays might be affected by pressures in the workforce. The purpose of this survey follows on from our work since the UK workforce 2021 census report launch, to highlight the impact that the workforce shortage is having on the wellbeing of doctors and potentially patients and their care.
The themes outlined in the findings of this survey follow on from the insights gathered in the ‘Stress and burnout’ survey we ran earlier in the year. 45% of respondents said they haven’t had a proper holiday in over three months and just over a quarter of respondents (28%) have had leave cancelled or rescheduled in the past year. Of those who had leave cancelled, they cited ‘workforce shortages’ as the most common reason for leave being cancelled, with ‘covid restrictions’ being the second most frequent reason.
We asked panel members who had been adversely affected by cancelled leave what the impact was. We found that there was a broad range of adverse effects (see image below), with inconvenience around family and childcare being the most common.
Q6. How were you adversely affected by having your annual leave cancelled or rescheduled?
11. Annual conference
- September 2022
This survey explored insight panel members’ thoughts about the RCR annual conferences, to ensure our member conference is as engaging and useful to you as possible.
We asked panel members who had not attended conferences in recent years why this was. Two-fifths of respondents reported that they did not attend because they felt the conference was of limited value to them, either because the speaker line-up was not compelling enough or the programme of events was not relevant to their practice. 22% of respondents indicated they could not attend because the conferences’ dates and locations were inconvenient to them.
Respondents were emphatic in their assessment of what makes for a compelling conference speaker, with 100% of them saying that expert knowledge was somewhat or very important. Though only 8% of respondents said our conferences’ speaker line-ups were not compelling, this is nonetheless useful feedback for us to ensure we offer value to members.
Panel members were divided over the issue of whether future conferences ought to be in-person or online, with 39% preferring the former and 35% the latter option. The remaining respondents were either unsure or suggested the format ought to depend on the conference’s location, their available study leave and the timings of other conferences.
We will use these data to assess and improve our conference offer for 2023 and beyond – both in terms of the content we deliver and the format in which we deliver it.
12. Modernising Council and SLT
- September 2022
This survey asked insight panel members for their feedback on our proposals for the modernisation of the RCR Council and Senior Leadership Team.
Most respondents were unaware of the proposed changes, with 67% indicating they did not know or definitely had not heard about the proposal. This is useful and important feedback for us, which we are using to inform how we communicate to members about this issue.
Many panellists requested an email summary be sent around informing members of the nature of the proposals and their implications, indicating that despite the low level of awareness, most members are interested in the issue of modernising the College. Several respondents did, however, feel that the proposed modernisation was unimportant or irrelevant to them. Both sets of feedback suggested we can improve how we communicate the proposed changes and their rationale to members.
We used this feedback to improve our messaging to members about this issue. We developed a comprehensive set of FAQs aimed at answering members’ questions and stepped up our promotion of the proposals across all our communications channels.
13. Winter pressures
- October 2022
Our winter pressures survey was aimed at understanding our panel members’ concerns about the coming (2022-23) winter period in the NHS, widely expected to be the hardest on record.
Unsurprisingly, an overwhelming majority (78%) of panellists said they were highly concerned that reports about the coming tough winter period would become reality in their trust/health board. Only 4% suggested they were not concerned. Specific concerns ranged from detrimental impacts to workforce morale and wellbeing, longer diagnostic waiting times and later early-stage cancer diagnoses. Worryingly, three-fifths of respondents said they were concerned that the rate of potentially preventable deaths would increase.
Our panel members also shared their thoughts on what should be done by government to prevent future winter crises. Nine out of ten placed a fully funded workforce plan as a high priority, and three quarters ranked changes to NHS pensions similarly highly. A hospital building programme and investment in modern equipment were ranked as having medium priority by half of respondents, with many also ranking these as high priority actions.
We will use these important insights to hone our policy focus, using them to represent the views and expertise of our members to government and the NHS. We will be contacting the Labour Party’s shadow health team and the Liberal Democrats’ health spokesperson, for which data such as these are invaluable, enabling us to convince key stakeholders to act on your priorities.
14. External affairs
- December 2022
The External Affairs team is a voice for the RCR’s members, working to address the top issues facing you by raising awareness in the media, campaigning in parliament and influencing policy change. This Insight Panel survey aimed to touch base with the membership to ensure our work truly reflects your concerns and priorities.
We were grateful to receive an excellent response rate to the survey. Encouragingly, many Panellists reported that their priorities match those the RCR has been campaigning on for several years. We also received a number of valuable and novel suggestions, and some members kindly offered to get more involved in our engagement work. We will feed both of these into our strategy review whilst forming our plans for 2023.
15. Wellbeing and burnout
- January 2023
We surveyed Panel members about their wellbeing and levels of burnout. This survey came a year after a similar survey (February 2022), enabling us to track how some issues have changed. The results show that mental health and alarming levels of burnout remain an ongoing concern.
52% of respondents expect their working conditions to negatively affect their mental health over the next 12 months. This may be reflected in their future plans, with 50% actively considering reducing their working hours (up from 40% last year). A further 20% have already done so. Likewise, nearly one third (31%) are considering leaving the NHS entirely. This year, 49% of respondents said they were burnt out. This is down from the 62% reported last year. However, it is paralleled by a similar rise in those saying they were slightly burnt out, up from 23% in 2022 to 33% this year.
We will be using these data, along with our upcoming 2022 censuses, to call for solutions to the workforce challenges facing our specialties. We will be pushing for the workforce plan announced by the Chancellor to include comprehensive funding to both expand training numbers and improve retention in radiology and oncology.