RCoA responds to NHS Long Term Plan

In response to the publication of the long-term plan for the NHS Professor Ravi Mahajan, President of the Royal College of Anaesthetists said:

“The Long Term Plan sets an ambitious course for the NHS over the next decade. Its success will be dependent on a number of other factors including the forthcoming strategy for the NHS workforce, long-awaited plans for social care reform and the allocations in the Spending Review.

“Improving prevention through lifestyle support and care that anticipates future health issues before they emerge is core to this plan and the future sustainability of the NHS.

“As a College, we have championed this approach in the area of surgical care, through the development of perioperative medicine and shared decision making  that supports patients to discuss, prepare for and recover from surgery when it is required.

“The Plan details strategies to improve quality and uptake of pulmonary and cardiac rehabilitation that should, for example, be coupled with targeted ‘prehabilitation’ incorporating exercise, nutrition and psychological support that can help to prepare patients for a procedure that treats their long term condition.

“This type of perioperative care has been shown to improve treatment outcomes, reduce the amount of time spent in hospital and help avoid the need for repeated hospital care in the future. All of which makes for a more efficient and cost effective healthcare system.

“We also agree with the assessment that more emphasis should be placed on preventing people from requiring hospital treatment, by enabling healthier lifestyles and addressing major public health challenges of smoking, obesity and harmful drinking. This can be realised as part of a fully integrated system of care that reduces the need for people to attend hospital through investment in public health services and targeted marketing that engages with people that would benefit most. 

“We recognise the need for a clinical workforce that marries a high-degree of specialist skills with the generic skills needed to care for an ageing population. As a College we are in the process of evolving our curriculum to ensure that it provides high-quality training that enables the provision of the best standards of care.

“Ultimately the plan for the future of the NHS is dependent on proper integration of care and a sustained investment in those delivering care.”

“The establishment of a national workforce group is a welcome step to addressing the challenges facing NHS staff, including welfare and morale. We are pleased that Royal Colleges will be included in this group and look forward to working with partners by offering the insight and experiences of our membership”.

07 January 2019