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‘Doctors are all working extremely hard’ – RSM’s Gillian Leng takes part in Channel 4’s live NHS debate

Professor Gillian Leng, Dean of Education at the Royal Society of Medicine, took part in a live Channel 4 News debate last night (Wednesday 18 January 2023) about the crisis in the NHS. 

Asked by host Krishnan Guru-Murthy whether there is a productivity problem with doctors, Professor Leng said: “Doctors are all working extremely hard.  

“The Royal Society of Medicine is multi-specialty and all of my colleagues are telling me about how extremely busy they are and that they don’t recognise the service they’re now working in.” 

She went on to raise the issue of workforce retention during the hour-long special programme. She said: “What does worry me is that doctors are retiring really early.  

“It used to be said that doctors were like sharks, they just kept going. But that’s not the case now.  

“I don’t know whether it’s the working conditions, I don’t know whether it’s pensions issues, I don’t know why but doctors are leaving and retiring and I would definitely consider that in terms of making change and encouraging doctors to stay in the workforce.” 

Professor Leng was joined on the programme by Helen Whately MP, Minister of State for Social Care; Wes Streeting MP, Shadow Secretary of State for Health and Social Care; Matthew Taylor, Chief Executive of NHS Confederation; Anita Charlesworth, Director of Research at the Health Foundation; plus consultants, paramedics, nurses, junior doctors, patients and carers. 

The ‘Emergency in the NHS’ debate covered strikes and industrial action, delays and waiting times, capacity and conditions in social care, productivity, alternative funding models, the future of primary care and self-referral, technology and innovation. 

You can watch the debate in full on Channel 4’s website.

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