President, Royal College of Physicians of London The Royal College of Physicians is more than four hundred and fifty years old. By far the most dramatic part of its long life has been the last fifty years with the National Health Service. The RCP was a strong supporter of the NHS at its birth through our President Lord Moran and worked closely with Aneurin Bevan to ensure that the NHS came into being despite the opposition from many other parts of the profession. The far sightedness of this has been proven over and over again during the ensuing five decades.
We continue to be strong supporters of the NHS and will do all in our power to ensure its successful continuation despite periodic political problems and the Doubting Thomases. We continue to be totally committed to a system which is free at the point of delivery. We hope now that with better use of existing evidence that the quality of care can be improved and inequities, if not eliminated, diminished. We will continue to fight for the quality of health and health care with particular reference to internal medicine. We continue to feel that some increase in resourcing is required in order to improve staffing and maintain care but this should be done within the framework of the general NHS.
We look forward to the next fifty years. I suspect that the NHS will be unrecognisable even two decades from now. It will be important to keep pace with technological and societal developments but we are eager to meet these challenges and will continue to work with the Government and other healthprofessionals to put the NHS where it belongs to be - the envy of the rest of the world.