Responding to the publication of NHS England's report 'The NHS Belongs to the People - A Call to Action', Professor Terrence Stephenson, Academy Chairman said:
“The Academy of Medical Royal Colleges has always been clear that there needs to be bold action to change the way our services are organised to ensure that we can maintain high quality sustainable services.
Doctors would certainly agree that it is unacceptable that the only solution to the financial pressures is to reduce care to patients or charge for services. However, to achieve this change will be a huge challenge which will depend for its success on the engagement and leadership of clinicians.
But we do need politicians, the media and the NHS professionals themselves to have the courage to have an honest debate with the public. Only this week the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges Council expressed its deep concern at the tone of recent debate across the UK about the NHS. Rational discussion appears to have given way to a torrent of febrile accusations and generalisations. Engaging in public debate at such a level on an issue of the importance of healthcare in the UK undermines patient confidence, causes unnecessary anxiety amongst the public and demoralises staff."