'Patient safety must be at heart of Brexit negotiations'

Author: Jo Carlowe
'Patient safety must be at heart of Brexit negotiations'

As political uncertainty around Brexit continues, Welsh doctors are calling on the UK government to place patient safety at the heart of negotiations with the EU.

The Royal College of Physicians (RCP) Cymru Wales this week launched its manifesto for the Welsh government ahead of the 2021 Senedd election, in which it warned that a no-deal exit could have "significant negative impacts on the health and care systems in all four UK nations".

With less than two years until the next Senedd election, the RCP is calling on all political parties to take an ambitious approach to protecting and improving the health of the people of Wales in their manifestos. Looking ahead to 2021, the RCP is calling on the next Welsh government to:

  • empower patients and clinicians to lead NHS organisational and workforce change
  • increase the number of medical students and postgraduate doctors in Wales
  • deliver on their commitment to prioritise the health and wellbeing of the NHS workforce
  • protect frontline medical research in the event of the UK leaving the EU
  • introduce a Clean Air Act, invest in specialist obesity services and address health inequalities. 

While 77% of senior trainee physicians in Wales say the quality of their specialty training is "excellent" or "good", many RCP members have warned that rota gaps and vacancies are affecting their ability to carry out research, attend formal teaching sessions, or enjoy a good work–life balance.

The RCP Cymru Wales says it is vital that the next Welsh government improves staff wellbeing, and works with NHS Wales to protect time for clinicians to carry out research, design improvements to patient care and provide teaching and education to others.

Some 80% of specialty trainee physicians in Wales say that protected time for professional development would improve their training experience.

Dr Gareth Llewelyn, RCP vice president for Wales said: “It is an honour to work in the Welsh NHS for our patients. The RCP has listened to our members, who work day in and day out in our NHS, and in this report, we are highlighting solutions which could help us deliver even better patient care. These changes must be designed with the people who use the NHS, and led by the doctors who work in it.”