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And so, it begins...

Article by: Dr Katharine Halliday

The general election

After an unexpected announcement last week, it is now 34 days until the general election. Parliament has now been dissolved and the election campaign has officially started. As exciting as the announcement of a general election is, our thoughts have turned to what the election means for the RCR and all our Fellows and members and the care we provide to patients.

Already this week, the issues which we speak about week in, and week out have already been proven to be front and centre of this campaign. Coverage of waiting times from political parties of all colours has shown that throughout this campaign there will be opportune moments to call for action.

While it is part of our role as a college to speak out and influence, during the election period we must be careful to do that within charity law. In the coming weeks, we will be particularly careful to remain independent and not align ourselves with any political party. Rest assured we will still continue to speak up on your behalf.

Election priorities

In recent weeks, through the RCR Insight Panel, many of you have told us about what you feel the RCR’s lobbying priorities should be. While we did not predict that there would be an election so soon after closing this survey, it provides us with a solid foundation as we raise these vital issues on your behalf and ensure that your voice is heard in this campaign.

The survey showed that, for RCR Fellows and members who filled in the survey, your priorities were:

  1. Workforce retention and wellbeing
  2. Improved processes and working conditions such as properly functioning IT systems and hardware
  3. Increased training capacity.

These three were followed by a number of other priorities including AI, increased funding for additional training places, a central expansion of training places and raising the profile of our specialities with decision-makers. 

While this is a long list of priorities, the College is well placed to comment on policy announcements coming from the parties during the election period. Our upcoming workforce census reports will also provide a great moment for influencing the conversation around workforce. While the wider context of an election will mean we have to fight harder to be heard, the data collected will once again be the foundation of our influencing work with the new government and parliament. 

So many of our members also provided us with detailed comments on the impact which workforce shortages in our specialities are having on them and their patients. I was, personally, very sad to hear the many examples of stress and burnout faced by colleagues as a result of workforce shortages. But, at the same time, I am inspired by your ongoing resilience and commitment to your patients.

Our plans for the election

We will be asking our Fellows and members what their views on policy announcements are throughout the election via our Insight Panel – join now and shape the RCR’s position and thinking as developments happen.

The election period provides us with a moment for reflection as everything in the political world resets and we prepare to welcome a new intake of MPs and ensure they understand our specialities and what they can do to support them.

As such, over the coming weeks, we will be publishing a series of blogs setting out our position on some of the big priorities which matter to you. We will also be responding to and commenting on the big announcements which impact our specialities. So check back in each week to see what the RCR has been up to.

Article by:

After completing her radiology training in London, Australia, Sheffield and Nottingham, Dr Halliday was appointed as a Consultant Paediatric Radiologist at Nottingham University Hospital in 1998. She has a special interest in the imaging of suspected physical abuse and provides expert opinions for cases throughout the UK. She was Chair of the British Society of Paediatric Radiology from 2010-2016 and chaired the working group for the updated guidance for imaging in cases of suspected physical abuse in children.

In September 2017, Dr Halliday was appointed National Clinical Lead for the Getting It Right First Time (GIRFT) programme for Radiology, and the Radiology GIRFT report was published in July 2020. Dr Halliday took over as Clinical Director for Radiology at Nottingham University Hospitals in January 2021.

Dr Halliday's tenure as RCR President is 2022-2025.