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Ex-Medical Chief Calls for NHS Workforce Expansion as He Receives Knighthood

The former president of the Royal College of Physicians has said the Government needs to invest in NHS workforce expansion as he received a knighthood at Windsor Castle. Sir Andrew Goddard, 55, held the position of president from 2018-2022 and said improving recruitment figures would have a huge impact on the NHS.

The gastroenterologist, who received the honour of Knight Bachelor from the Prince of Wales on Wednesday, told the PA news agency: "We need more people and more staff, there are a lot of very disenchanted people working with the health service and I completely understand that.

"If we had more people, it’s a win-win because not only is there more people that you can share the work with, but also you get higher standards of patient care, so I think it’s an investment that is worth making.

"The knock-on effects of the pandemic on the NHS and people working will be long lasting, we have a lot of catching up to do, and that’s going to take a long time, and mean a lot of work for a lot of people."

Dedicated His Knighthood to Colleagues

Sir Andrew said he was honoured to receive his knighthood, but dedicated it to his colleagues who "went above and beyond" during the pandemic, and continue to do so.

He said: "It's not something I was at all expecting, but it is very nice, I don't see it just for me, it is an award for all of the doctors involved with COVID and the NHS over the last few years.

"It was extremely tough, and lots of my friends and colleagues died, everyone pulling together really helped and we definitely felt that there was a big challenge that we had to work together to solve."

On the public support of the NHS during the pandemic, he added: "The clapping and the feeling that we were doing something of great public service, it helped but there is a feeling within the NHS workforce that people have forgotten the work of those doctors now."

Sir Andrew said the Prince of Wales spoke to him about his work in bowel screening as he conferred the knighthood, William previously awarded bowel cancer activist Dame Deborah James with her damehood.

"We talked about bowel cancer, a conversation I never really expected to have with a future king," he said.

"He said that more and more people should get screened and was very supportive of the screening programme and how it is being extended."

This article contains information from PA Media.