MPs' stark warnings about workforce burnout in the NHS come as 'no surprise' to trust leaders

08 June 2021

 

Responding to the publication of the health and social care committee's report on 'Workforce burnout and resilience in the NHS and social care', the deputy chief executive of NHS Providers, Saffron Cordery, said:

"We wholeheartedly agree with the findings in this report, which will come as no surprise to trust leaders who have repeatedly raised concerns about workforce burnout in the NHS. Our survey of trust leaders last year found 99% were concerned about current levels of burnout across the workforce.

"For some time, we have been calling on the government to embrace a longer-term approach to workforce planning, and to work with the NHS to deliver a fully costed and funded workforce strategy. This report underlines the importance and urgency of taking this approach, for the good of staff and patients.

"We're also pleased by the recommendations around social care. The report rightly calls for the development of a social care people plan and much greater alignment between health and care workforce planning.

"Trust leaders are prioritising staff health and wellbeing during this difficult time, through the creation of wellbeing hubs, innovative new ways of working, including flexible deployment, and better communication across teams and organisations. This has been hugely helpful in the delivery of care.

But there is a fundamental factor behind staff burnout which must be acknowledged and addressed:  persistent staff shortages have normalised excessive workloads and stress at work across the NHS.

Saffron Cordery    Deputy Chief Executive

"But there is a fundamental factor behind staff burnout which must be acknowledged and addressed:  persistent staff shortages have normalised excessive workloads and stress at work across the NHS. That, in turn, has meant we have lost far too many of our highly valued staff.

"We need to see extra, dedicated funding for local wellbeing initiatives as the report recommends.

"As we start to address the daunting legacy of the pandemic, it is vitally important we do everything we can to protect staff from unmanageable workloads as well as putting measures in place to address the risk of increased retirements and departures by colleagues who are exhausted.

"That means ensuring the NHS has the right levels of staff to build flexibility into the system, making it easier to cover sickness absences, as well as enabling staff to have more breaks in their work day, a manageable workload and a better work life balance."

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