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RCOG statement on the Five Year Forward View

News 23 October 2014

The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) welcomes NHS England’s Five Year Forward View and notes the wide support for the document across health and social care.

This plan seeks to change the way the NHS works so that finances are kept in check while still providing high quality services. The RCOG believes that the current economic constraints will continue for a few more years and although more money into the system will always be helpful, there is a need to reinvest funds into preventive medicine so that we move away from disease intervention and provide care that helps to improve the health and wellbeing of the general population.

The RCOG’s High Quality Women’s Health Care report in 2011 made the case for the life-course approach in women’s health, with the focus on public health. It argued that maternity and gynaecological services should be centralised where appropriate, working to the model of strategic clinical networks, complemented by care provided in community and GP settings. This improves access and allows for better continuity of care. These principles are very relevant to today’s publication and the RCOG is pleased to see these elements in Forward View.

Dr David Richmond, RCOG President said “A paradigm shift is needed if the NHS is to remain a sustainable organisation. Rather than be a reactive organisation that treats patients when they have a disease, we must help them to lead healthier lives. This needs to start at the very beginning of life.

“There are issues around the maternity tariff and workforce and these need to be addressed so that we can work smarter and provide the services that women want and need. In addition, local solutions to different yet equitable models of care need attention. I completely support the ‘one-size-doesn’t-fit-all’ approach and confirm that this College is ready to assist any such review of the current and future models of delivery.

“I sincerely hope that with the General Elections looming, whichever government is in power after May next year, it will stick to this plan. Any further reform or top-down reorganisation will be disastrous for the NHS.”