January, 2019: Martin Houghton-Brown, CEO of St John Ambulance, said:

'St John Ambulance welcomes the ambition in the plan on both physical and mental health and the shift in focus to the community, but recognises some of the challenges in delivering against it.

We are proud to work in partnership with the NHS and stand ready to play our role through healthcare volunteering in the community, improving patient outcomes, developing the next generation of health professionals; whilst relieving pressure on NHS acute services.'

Community first responder with patient

In particular, we welcome:

The recognition of the role healthcare volunteers play in building resilient communities, alleviating the pressure on the NHS.

We already work alongside other agencies at temporary minor injury units around the country, providing treatment to patients with minor illnesses and minor medical conditions to help reduce A&E admissions during the busy times.

The commitment to extra resources for mental health, especially for young people.

We believe that taking care of our own and one another’s mental wellbeing, whether it’s managing stress, depression or another condition, is as important as looking after physical illness. Our long-term goal, is to support people in workplaces and communities in their whole health and wellbeing.

The aim of a national network of community responders.

Receiving emergency medical care in the vital minutes before an ambulance arrives can make a huge difference to whether a life is lost or saved. Communities across the country benefit from the emergency support provided by St John Ambulance’s thousands of volunteers who are trained to respond to a cardiac arrest and save lives when they do, not to mention the communities served by the 300+ volunteer Community First Responders who deliver care in those key moments, saving lives and improving health outcomes. We believe there is more we can do to support the NHS through our first response support in communities and with increasing health care demands, our ability to be there for people in times of crisis ever more essential.'

Visit longtermplan.nhs.uk to read the full plan.