NHS Providers responds to HSIB report on rising pressure and patient safety

27 February 2023

Responding to the Healthcare Safety Investigation Branch (HSIB) report on staff wellbeing in urgent and emergency care services and its impact on patient safety, Sir Julian Hartley, chief executive at NHS Providers said:

"This report reflects the mounting pressure on ambulance workers. Long shifts, often on the road and away from the support of colleagues or managing high stress situations, can lead to feelings of isolation, which can make managing an already-challenging job even more emotionally taxing.

"At the heart of this problem lie systemic issues including high demand, low capacity, delayed discharges and vast workforce shortages. This feeds into a deeply challenging work environment right across the system, which leaves staff feeling they can't provide the care they want to – leading to a sense of moral injury, further exacerbating a difficult situation.

"Trust leaders are working extremely hard to recover urgent and emergency care services, but this can't be done overnight and not without action on a national level. Growing capacity and investing in mental health support for staff is a key short-term solution.

"On top of that, the NHS' long-term workforce plan, which needs to be funded by the government, should go a long way to shore up vital resources. We also hope the decision to withdraw national funding for NHS staff wellbeing hubs is reversed, as they provide invaluable mental health support."