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Get Involved

Is there a health related policy or advocacy issue you want to highlight?

RCPI has long been a well-respected voice in public health debates. Our Members and Fellows lead initiatives and discussions that influence government policies, legislation and shape public debate. In recent years we have been to the forefront of policy and advocacy in the areas of vaccination, screening, alcohol, obesity, tobacco, physical activity and ageing.

There are many additional areas where RCPI can leverage the expertise and voice of its doctors to make a difference to health and healthcare. We want to support the policy issues that are of concern to our trainees, members and fellows across all our Faculties and Institutes and we aim to assign staff and volunteer resources to issues where the voice of RCPI has the greatest potential to make an impact.

What to do

  • If there is a policy or advocacy issue you want to highlight you should submit it to the relevant Faculty or Institute board for discussion.
  • The Faculty or Institute board will inform the Executive Board of policy/advocacy issues they are working on. The Executive Board and CEO will consider the ideas and the resources that may be required to develop the position paper.
  • The assigned person within the Faculty/Institute will lead on developing the paper. 
  • The final draft Faculty/Institute paper should be submitted to the Executive Board for sign off.  
  • The final document will be sent for approval by council.
  • It is important to identify a spokesperson(s) on the topic who can promote the paper in media and other fora.

Need some advice?

If you have an idea for a policy statement or position paper you can talk to our Policy Specialist, who will advise you on the best approach to take.

Writing a position paper - some tips

  • Your paper should identify a clear problem and propose solutions to that problem.
  • Think about your target audience – who you are talking to - and the aspects most relevant to them. Your paper could be aimed at other doctors, the general public, or government.
  • Frame the language of the paper and any recommendations in a way that will make sense to your target audience. Use language they will recognise.
  • Use simple, direct language and keep it jargon-free as much as possible. We recommend using Plain English.
  • Summarise the relevant research, citing references.
  • Describe the national policy context.
  • Mention why the topic is relevant for the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland.
  • Include an executive summary at the start of your paper – This will be the most-read section of any paper.
  • Make your recommendations/calls for action clear, concise and actionable. Use the acronym SMART ( Specific, Measurable, Attainable/ Assignable, Relevant and Time-bound) as a guide to develop quality recommendations.
  • Make sure recommendations respond to the problem identified and are supported with reference to research, cited in the main body of the paper.
  • Keep your list of recommendations short (five or less is preferable, with no more than ten). Having too many recommendations may draw attention away from your points and confuse the reader.

What can we do to help?

Our policy specialist supports our members' policy work by:

  • Providing inputs and editing support for Faculty Position Papers/Joint Papers (once a draft paper has been developed).
  • Assisting the proposing faculty in coordinating the development of an RCPI Policy Statement.
  • Bringing the paper to the attention of the Media/Communications team in RCPI.

If you have any questions on this process, you can get in touch with Mairead Heffron, our Policy Specialist

Mairéad Heffron

Policy Specialist

Tel: +353 (0)86 8148027

Contact Mairéad for queries relating to our policy groups or if you have an idea for a policy paper.