30th June 2022: St John Ambulance welcomes the publication of the NHS workforce plan, a comprehensive start to preparing our healthcare system for the future.
The plan takes an ambitious, long-term approach to the workforce challenges facing the NHS. This scope allows the Government and NHS to start supporting the young people today who will be the doctors, nurses, and paramedics of the future. St John Ambulance is pleased to play a vital part in the training of this future health workforce through our NHS Cadet scheme, which encourages young people into health careers who might otherwise miss out on these opportunities.
As the nation’s ambulance auxiliary, St John Ambulance continues to provide community-based capacity to respond to health emergencies to relieve pressure on the NHS workforce and support people’s needs in their communities before they become NHS patients.
Education is intrinsic to the charity’s mission and community first aid, enabled through clinically trained volunteers has the potential to add resilience to the NHS workforce. During the pandemic, St John Ambulance delivered over 1.7 million hours treating and transporting patients, responding to emergency callouts, and providing surge NHS support during periods of high demand.
The workforce plan’s acknowledgment that the NHS has not “tapped into the full potential of volunteering” in supporting service delivery and patient experience is to be applauded. St John Ambulance believes now is the time for NHS leaders to commit to the highest standards of partnership with the voluntary sector through implementing the recommendations of the NHS Volunteering taskforce.
St John Ambulance is committed to working with NHS England and Integrated Care Boards to support the ambitions of the workforce plan to expand opportunities for young people to pursue a career in healthcare and to utilise the capabilities and skills of volunteers in helping to improve the nation’s health.
Responding to the report, St John Ambulance Chief Executive, Martin Houghton-Brown said: “St John Ambulance welcomes the publication of the NHS long-term workforce plan and its commitments to prioritise education and training and shift the focus of healthcare out of hospital and into the community.
Investing in youth programmes like NHS Cadets is vital to encourage young people to pursue careers in healthcare, tackle health inequalities and increase the diversity and inclusiveness of an NHS workforce fit for the future.
As a youth movement, and a trusted auxiliary partner to the NHS, we are committed to working with NHS leaders to break down barriers to those who aspire to be NHS professionals and utilise the full potential of volunteers to improve patient outcomes and reduce NHS pressures.”
View the NHS Long-term workforce plan here.