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Policy and Advocacy


Current Initiatives


Health Equity

What does it mean to provide inclusive healthcare? How do we deliver trauma-informed care? How can I as a clinician be more inclusive in my practice?  

A new report provides some perspectives on these questions, capturing the discussion from an RCPI masterclass held in March 2023 on 'Achieving Equity in Healthcare - More Than Just an Appointment.'  This Masterclass was part of an attempt to understand the bigger story behind people not attending appointments or engaging with the health system. The report captures the main themes and discussion points from that masterclass that relate to clinical practice. Included you can read: 

  • Real-life stories behind the statistics of social adversity
  • Discussion of the mismatch between service delivery and need
  • The role of employment and job seeking as a determinant of health
  • Tips on inclusive clinical practice
  • Principles for delivering trauma-informed care 
  • Recommendations for policy makers and healthcare leader

In practice, none of us has all the answers. But by working with our colleagues, community and government agencies, and key workers, we can have a profound impact in addressing the societal and systemic issues of access to care for individuals and for populations. A multifaceted approach to community healthcare in Ireland is vital in addressing healthcare equity and there is important work underway, some of which is captured in this report."
Prof Trevor Duffy, Head of Healthcare Leadership RCPI

Read full report

Equity in Healthcare: More than just an appointment (PDF, 748KB)


Tobacco 21

Nearly 4,500 people die in Ireland each year from the effects of smoking - the single biggest contributor to early death. Thousands more suffer from smoking-related diseases, including heart and lung disease, and cancers.

In September 2022, the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland’s Policy Group on Tobacco launched a report calling for the minimum age of sale of tobacco to be raised from 18 to 21. The report was developed from national and international evidence analysed by the Institute of Public Health. The report by the RCPI Policy Group says amending legislation to raise the minimum legal age for the sale of tobacco products in Ireland offers a proven approach to significantly reduce the numbers of teenagers and young adults becoming addicted to tobacco.

Read full report

Tobacco Free Ireland:Time for Tobacco 21 (PDF, 1,365KB)


Cancer Care in Ireland in 2020 – the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic

This report, launched in Dec 2021, highlighted the impact the COVID-19 pandemic had on cancer diagnostics and treatment in Ireland in 2020.  The report was a collaboration between the Faculty of Pathology (RCPI), National Cancer Control Programme (NCCP), National Specialty Quality Improvement Programmes in Histopathology, Queen's University Belfast (QUB), SQI programmes in GI Endoscopy and Radiology, National Cancer Registry Ireland (NCRI), Northern Ireland Cancer Registry and DATA-CAN (the UK’s Health Data Research Hub for Cancer).

The report detailed the reduction in activity experienced across the cancer services pathway during 2020, most marked during the first wave of the pandemic in March to June 2020. There was variable recovery in all aspects of presentation, diagnosis, and treatment from June 2020 onward however activity overall did not reach 2019 levels.  The report made the following high-level recommendations arising from the analysis of the data:

  • Continue to encourage and support the public to act early on signs and symptoms of possible cancer
  • Ensure a resilient cancer service with sufficient capacity to address backlogs and increasing demands
  • Improve availability and integration of data to provide more timely, comprehensive cancer-specific intelligence encompassing public and private healthcare system.

Read full report

Cancer Care in Ireland in 2020 – the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic (PDF, 2,292KB)



In May 2021, a paper from the Faculty of Paediatrics, Faculty of Public Health and the Institute of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland highlighted that despite improvements over the last 15 years, breastfeeding rates in Ireland remain below international targets. Cultural norms, knowledge gaps among healthcare professionals and lack of practical support impact on these rates. The paper made recommendations for greater support for breastfeeding families, better education for the public and for healthcare professionals and improvements in hospital facilities to support breastfeeding.

The paper also affirmed RCPI’s commitment to hosting all meetings, conferences, and study days free from sponsorship from breastmilk substitutes in accordance with the WHO Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes.

Read paper

A position paper on Breastfeeding (PDF, 3,885KB)


Recent consultation submissions

RCPI regularly makes submissions to national consultations on healthcare related issues. In 2022/2023 we made submissions as part of the following consultations:

  • Department of Environment, Climate and Communications consultation on Disposable Vaping Devices (July 2023). The Faculty of Paediatrics and the RCPI Policy Group on Tobacco made a submission to this consultation (read the submission here) The submission highlighted the harms caused to the environment and the disproportionate usage of disposable vaping devices among children and young people, and the associated health concerns.  
  • Department of Health public consultation on a National Open Disclosure Framework (September 2022)
  • Pre-budget Submission (September 2022) from RCPI Policy Group on Tobacco