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RCOG response to the Interim NHS People Plan

News 3 June 2019

The Interim NHS People Plan, published today, sets out a vision for those working in the NHS to enable them to deliver commitments outlined in the Long Term Plan.

It focuses on challenges particular to the NHS workforce, such as the need to recruit more staff, make the organisation a great place to work, improve the leadership culture, and deliver 21st century healthcare.

This complements the NHS Long Term Plan which aims to ensure that patients will be supported with world-class care at every stage of their life.

Commenting in response to the interim report, Professor Mary Ann Lumsden, Senior Vice President of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, said:

“There are growing pressures on the obstetrics and gynaecology (O&G) workforce with implications for quality of care. While services are currently being delivered safely, we are experiencing shortages of doctors and midwives, as well as increasing demands on services.

“The plan’s focus on flexible careers, a better work-life balance and more efficient working is welcome and will help our workforce feel better supported and valued and less likely to suffer from burn-out and stress. This is essential if we are to lower the 30% attrition rate affecting our profession.

“Eliminating bullying, harassment and abuse in the NHS is also extremely important. It has long been recognised as a problem in O&G, with the highest rates of undermining and bullying among our trainees.

“We look forward to supporting the implementation of this plan. Crucial to this will be release of the full Five-Year People Plan that will outline a detailed course of action, along with costs.

“We also call for the Government’s next Spending Review to recognise that these actions require substantial investment. It is essential that a policy is developed on flexible working, pay, terms and conditions, and that a new pension scheme is implemented, to prevent more doctors from incurring heavy financial penalties and leaving the profession earlier than is necessary.

“It is only with an adequately funded, resourced, sustainable and multidisciplinary workforce that women and their families can receive the very best care from the NHS.”

Note to editors

For media enquiries, please contact the RCOG press office on +44 (0)20 7045 6773 or email

  • The RCOG remains committed to improving women’s health, and a strong and sustainable workforce is critical to achieving this. Read about RCOG’s Supporting our Doctors campaign.
  • An RCOG report outlines the challenges facing the O&G profession and the commitments the College is making to address them. It shows that the O&G field has an attrition rate close to 30% - the highest of any medical specialty.

  • O&G trainees report more undermining behaviour that any other medical speciality and around 64% of consultants say they have experienced or witnessed consultants being bullied. A new resource brings together the range of work being conducted across the medical professions to eradicate workplace bullying.

  • The National Maternity and Perinatal Audit’s Organisational Survey, published in August 2017, found that nine out of ten obstetric units reported middle-grade rota gaps.