NHS Long Term Plan: What does it mean for Resuscitation Council UK?

What is the NHS Long Term Plan? 

In January 2019, NHS England released their Long Term Plan for the next ten years. 

This plan was created to help the NHS solve some of the challenges it currently faces, such as staff shortages, workforce issues and a demand for health services. 

Some points raised in the Long Term Plan will have an impact on policy and practice relating to resuscitation, as well as the work Resuscitation Council UK (RCUK) will do in the next few years. Here we explain what our plans are as a result of these initiatives and changes. 

How will the Long Term Plan impact RCUK? 

Surviving Cardiac Arrest 

As our work at Resuscitation Council UK is all about appropriate resuscitation, and making sure more people survive cardiac arrests, we are pleased to see that the Long Term Plan is looking to increase survival rates in the UK. 

The Long Term Plan mentions that fast and effective action will help save lives of people suffering a cardiac arrest- in fact, your chance of surviving a cardiac arrest that happens outside of a hospital doubles if you receive quick bystander CPR and defibrillation. The plan explains ways to increase the chances of surviving an out of hospital cardiac arrest, for example by making sure more people know how to do CPR. 

In the Long Term Plan, it is stated that a national network of community first responders and defibrillators will help to save up to 4,000 lives each year by 2028. This will be supported by educating the public, including school pupils, in how to tell if someone’s having a cardiac arrest, and how to help them. 

We are happy to offer our knowledge and expertise to support the plan’s goal to improve survival rates from cardiac arrest. We will also continue our work in educating the public on the chain of survival and effective CPR by promoting our Lifesaver app and leading Restart a Heart Day.  

Urgent and Emergency Care 

There are plans to improve emergency hospital services, including a drive for patients to receive same day emergency care and helping A&E departments deal with the large number of people using their services. 

This is important to us as the RCUK community contains many emergency healthcare professionals, who take courses and help us shape our guidance. We will monitor progress in this area to ensure that our work supports this group. 

This part of the plan also focusses on healthcare for older people. The plan aims to give people more control over their health and receive personalised care when they need it, ‘particularly towards the end of their lives’. 

RCUK’s ReSPECT Process helps the public discuss what treatment they would prefer to receive in an emergency. We believe that ReSPECT would help the NHS give people more control about the healthcare they receive. Therefore, we will be promoting the ReSPECT process as a way of achieving the goals set out in this part of the Long Term Plan. 

There are also areas in the plan which focus on specific conditions, including dementia and cancer. These patients may also benefit from using ReSPECT, and we will keep this in mind as more regions adopt the ReSPECT process. 

Our training courses 

As a result of the plan, there are aims to increase the NHS workforce. This will mean increasing the number of staff the NHS employs, and ensuring staff are happy in their roles. 

This part of the plan is important to us, as we provide numerous courses for healthcare and medical professionals, teaching them skills to save the lives of adults, children and newborns. Our courses are designed to help professionals do their job well, by having a high standard of knowledge and by helping them to react properly in an emergency. 

We want to ensure that staff have the time and budget to go to courses, something the Long Term Plan also mentions. We have already submitted comments about this to the Department of Health and Social Care and will be doing more work like this in the future. 

What next? 

This plan will be mapped out across the next ten years, so while the changes won’t be immediately evident, these projects should develop over coming years. We will monitor progress on how the plan is put into action, and offer our support, knowledge, evidence and expertise. 

For more information and more detail, download our full briefing on the Long Term Plan (PDF)