News & Views

The Academy welcomes announcement of a sugary drinks tax

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The Academy of Medical Royal Colleges welcomes The Chancellor of the Exchequer’s announcement of a a tax on sugary drinks.

It called for just such a move in its Measuring Up report published in 2013. Excessive consumption of sugary soft drinks has long been known to be a significant contributor to the the growing levels of obesity in the UK.

Professor Dame Sue Bailey, Chair of the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges said,

‘The Government should be congratulated on taking this step. We hope it will make a particular impact on the young who tend to consume overly sweet drinks. We are facing an epidemic of obesity and while this measure won’t solve that completely, it is certainly a good starting point.’




For more information contact Max Prangnell, Director of Communications on 0207 490 681 or 0773 436 1055


Quality Improvement should be at the heart of medical training

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Doctors in training should be supported to continuously improve quality of patient care, according to a series of recommendations contained in a new report being launched today.

‘Quality Improvement – training for better outcomes’ brings together expertise from all four nations of the UK and provides recommendations for embedding quality improvement training in medical education. Recognising the very complex healthcare environment that trainees are working in, it highlights the importance of making quality improvement part of the mindset of all health and social care staff. It calls on employers in particular, to provide protected time and resources for doctors to put their quality improvement training into practice.

Drawing on wide-ranging expertise from improvement leaders, patients, trainers and trainees, the report, sponsored by The Health Foundation and Health Education England, makes a series of recommendations, including:

  • Embedding progressive quality improvement curricula and training into undergraduate and postgraduate medical education
  • Valuing quality improvement activity in career appraisals and job descriptions
  • Working with patients to ensure quality improvement initiatives address the things that are important to them.

Lead author Dr Emma Vaux, a consultant nephrologist and Learning to Make a Difference clinical lead, Royal College of Physicians, said, ‘This is about delivering a step-change in the way we approach training, to ensure we embed improvement methodology as a core competence in practice for all doctors. We need to put systems in place to support this and enable future generations of doctors to learn to be reflective, enthusiastic and effective improvers working together with their patients and multi-professional teams to achieve this.’

The report also sets out how the General Medical Council, medical schools and medical royal colleges can incorporate the changes in under-graduate and post-graduate training.
Professor Wendy Reid, Director of Education and Quality, and Medical Director, Health Education England said,

‘I would like to thank Emma and her colleagues for their hard work and commitment. They have delivered a report which is commendably clear and makes an unassailable case for teaching trainees not just why quality improvement is important but how to make it happen in practice, to make a difference to both their work and the care their patients receive. The recommendations set out in the report align closely to our new multi-professional HEE Quality Framework, which will provide an ideal vehicle to help us embed improvement methodology to empower learning and sharing, and ultimately improve patients’ outcomes.’
For further information contact Max Prangnell on 0773 4361055 or email
Or the QI project manager Dr Rose Jarvis on 0207 490 6810 or email

Academy Mental Capacity Act Competition

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To mark tomorrow’s national day of action aimed at raising awareness of the Mental Capacity Act, the Academy is inviting essays from doctors in training on the way the Act is being implemented to benefit of patients.

Introduced in 2005 in England and Wales, the Act was designed to protect and support people who may lack the capacity to make decisions for themselves. This may relate to small decisions such as what to eat or wear, or major decisions, such as on financial or legal matters. The Act also defined who can and should make decisions on behalf of people who are defined as ‘lacking capacity’.

Many professionals, particularly those working in the area of mental health have argued that doctors and other professionals are not sufficiently aware of the details of the Act. The essay competition is designed to address that by calling on doctors to set out their experiences of the Act in practice. The competition is also open to multi-disciplinary teams, with the winners being announced by Baroness Ilora Finlay at a reception at the House of Lords in the early summer of 2016.



For more information contact Joan Reid, Project and Policy Manager, on 0207 490 6819 or email

Or Max Prangnell, Director of Communications, on 0207 490 681 or 0773 436 1055

SoS for Health’s announcement regarding a review into the concerns of Junior Doctors

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It is obviously a matter of regret that it has not proved possible to reach a negotiated settlement of the dispute over the junior doctors contract.

It has been acknowledged that the dispute has highlighted a high level of discontent which has been fermenting for years and junior doctors clearly expressed a feeling that they were not valued in the NHS.

While the circumstances are regrettable, it is helpful that the Government has accepted Sir David Dalton’s recommendation for a review of these concerns.

Professor Dame Sue Bailey, Chair of the Academy, has been asked to lead that review which will begin immediately. Commenting on her appointment, Professor Bailey said:

“I am privileged to have been asked to lead this review and look forward to working with colleagues from a range of relevant organisations whose input will be invaluable.

This work is crucial to improve working life for junior doctors and as we know, improving the morale of staff will improve the quality of patient care. That is why this is such an important task and so, I am sure, all parties will be fully committed to ensuring we are successful.

I particularly want to hear about the concerns of junior doctors directly so we can, as a whole NHS community, significantly improve the morale and well-being of trainees. We will work openly to ensure all views are heard, understood and then acted upon.”

Operating principles for managing invited reviews within healthcare

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The Academy of Medical Royal Colleges (the Academy), the Royal College of Midwives (RCM) and Royal College of Nursing (RCN) have today published A framework of operating principles for managing invited reviews within healthcare.
The purpose of the framework is to ensure that there are similar principles, standards and working practices across non-statutory external reviews of NHS clinical services carried out by Colleges, professional bodies or other organisations.

The framework was produced in response to a specific recommendation in Dr Bill Kirkup’s report into maternity services at Morecambe Bay Hospital which was published in March 2015. Recommendation 41 of Dr Kirkup’s report expressed concern at the ad hoc nature and variable quality of the numerous external reviews of services that were carried out at the University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust and recommended that systematic guidance be drawn up; setting out an appropriate framework for external reviews and professional responsibilities in undertaking them. It was proposed that the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges, the Royal College of Nursing (RCN), and the Royal College of Midwives (RCM) should take forward this recommendation.

While noting that none of the many reviews of clinical practice at Morecambe Bay were in fact formal Royal College invited reviews, the Royal Colleges and professional bodies involved in providing invited reviews fully support the objective of having a clear framework of operating principles to underpin this activity.

The document has been produced for the Academy by Colleges involved in invited reviews and has been agreed by the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges, the Royal College of Midwives and the Royal College of Nursing.
The Care Quality Commission and the General Medical Council have supported the production of the framework and contributed to document.

Academy Chair Professor Dame Sue Bailey said:
“External reviews of NHS services by professional or other bodies can play a crucial role in identifying problems and recommending improvements. However it is very important that patients can expect consistent standards and quality when a professional or other body undertakes an external invited review of any NHS service.

The Academy believes that this framework provides the systematic guidance for external reviews that the Kirkup review was seeking and, as such, recommends it to all NHS organisations commissioning external reviews of their services and to all professional or other organisations conducting such reviews. Medical Royal Colleges, the RCN and RCM believe that if these operating principles are applied properly, patients will benefit from consistent, high quality external reviews of NHS service.”

A framework of operating principles for managing invited reviews within healthcare

Junior Doctors Dispute: latest

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The Academy of Medical Royal Colleges welcomes the decision by the BMA’s Junior Doctors Committee to suspend the 48 hour industrial action that was planned for next week which would have inevitably disrupted services for patients.

We have consistently said that there needs to be a negotiated settlement and hope that talks will, on this occasion, enable both sides to reach agreement on the issues that remain.

The Academy is continuing its work, which includes joint work with Health Education England, to ensure long term improvements are made to the training environment for junior doctors.

Junior Doctors Industrial Action

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The Academy of Medical Royal Colleges has consistently called for a negotiated settlement to the dispute around the introduction of a new contract for junior doctors and welcomes any initiative to achieve this. We still hope that even at this late hour, the parties are able to find a way to reach an agreement without the need for industrial action which will inevitably disrupt services for patients.

From the outset of this dispute the Academy has acknowledged that in addition to specific concerns around the contract, there is a strong feeling from doctors in training that they are not valued in the NHS and the training environment often does not support junior doctors.

The Academy is pleased to see that this is recognised in the recent communications on the contract and wishes to restate that Medical Royal Colleges are very willing to play their part in taking forward longer term work to address these issues.

These will include proposals from the Academy Trainee Doctors Group on creating supportive environments for trainees – with a range of College initiatives supporting both trainees and trainers.

We would also hope that College guidance and expertise will feed into the decisions of the proposed “Guardian of Safe Working” at Trust level, on how funds accrued from financial penalties on Trusts for consistent breaches of working time regulations could be spent on improving the working conditions or education of doctors in training in their institution.

The Academy and Colleges have also made clear that they can contribute to the work of Sir David Dalton or any other party to both help resolve the dispute in the short term and build a lasting positive working and training environment for junior doctors, on whom the health service of the future will depend.

New Chair of Academy Board of Trustees

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The Academy of Medical Royal Colleges has appointed Charles Winstanley as the Chair of its Board of Trustees from 1 April 2016. He takes over from the current Chair, Walter Merricks, whose term of office ends on 31 March 2016.

The Board of Trustees is responsible for the governance and management of the Academy whilst the Council, comprising the Presidents of all member Colleges and Faculties, retains responsibility for all medical and professional issues.

Charles Winstanley has extensive experience as a Chair and Non-Executive director. He has chaired Scotland’s second largest health board, served on the board of an English NHS Trust, and chaired GMC panels. His non-executive roles have included the UK Supreme Court, the Scottish Government, and the Ministry of Defence. He previously ran his own management consultancy.

Professor Dame Sue Bailey, Chair of the Academy Council, said
“I am delighted to welcome Charles as the new Chair of our Board of Trustees. He brings huge experience and expertise which will be of great benefit to the Academy. His experience of healthcare in Scotland will enhance the Academy’s position as a four country organisation. I look forward to working with Charles to develop the Academy over the coming years.

I must also thank Walter Merricks for all his work as the current chair of the Board of Trustees. As the first ever Academy Board Chair he has ensured that the Academy’s revised governance has worked really effectively and provided excellent leadership and guidance for the Board.”

Charles Winstanley said
“I am delighted to be asked to take on this role. I look forward to working with the Trustees to ensure that the Academy is a thriving and sustainable organisation in support of the Council’s broad programme of work.”


The Chair of Board of Trustees was appointed in accordance with the Academy’s Regulations following open advertisement of the post and competitive interview.

The Interview Panel comprised:
Ms Pamela Charlwood, – Current Independent Trustee (Panel Chair)
Professor Dame Sue Bailey, Chair Academy Council
Professor Jane Dacre, Academy Vice-Chair, President Royal College of Physicians (London)
Dr Giles Maskell, President Royal College of Radiologists
Mr Ian Wylie, Chief Executive, Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists

The term of office for the Chair of the Board is three years which may be renewed for a further three years with agreement.

Junior Doctors: latest

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The Academy has consistently called for a negotiated settlement to the dispute around the introduction of a new contract for junior doctors. It is therefore extremely disappointing that talks between the BMA and NHS Employers and the Department of Health have broken down.

Industrial action will inevitably disrupt services for patients and it is essential that every effort is made to ensure that patient safety is not compromised or patients harmed by any industrial action.

We would still hope that even at this late stage the parties are able to find a way to reach an agreement without the need for industrial action.