RCR response to the Health Secretary’s Plan for Patients

Thursday 22 September 2022

Responding to today’s Plan for Patients, set out by the new Health Secretary, The Royal College of Radiologists, said:

“'We welcome the extension of the emergency register and a focus on ensuring patients have timely access to the care they need but this needs to be adequately resourced with both front-line staff and those carrying out vital tests. For these initiatives to be successful, there needs to be a co-ordinated approach across the NHS – for instance, many patient pathways involve diagnostic scanning, and unless there is sustained and long-term investment in the radiology workforce, alongside equipment and IT connectivity, any moves to increase patients' access to GPs will simply result in larger backlogs further along the line.

“Social care is critical, and it needs to be properly funded; the establishment of a £500 million adult social care discharge fund is welcome and could help ease pressure on acute care beds. However, any investment in social care will be counter-productive if the funds are simply reallocated from health, so we look forward to more clarity on this new funding.

“We also welcome the re-commitment to long-term workforce planning (NHSE and HEE) and look forward to seeing a timeline as soon as possible. 

“We are pleased to hear the NHS is on track to meet elective recovery targets, but feel that today was a missed opportunity to reaffirm the Prime Minister’s commitment to the publication of the 10 Year Cancer Plan which will be so important in addressing the backlog as well as ensuring future capacity.”