Sustained pressures will continue to take a toll on staffing levels

23 June 2021

Responding to the BMJ investigation on the early retirement of doctors, the deputy chief executive of NHS Providers, Saffron Cordery said:

"These findings tally with concerns we are hearing from trusts about workforce levels. We have just published a survey in which 48% of trust leaders said they have seen evidence of staff leaving their organisation due to early retirement, COVID-19 burnout, or other effects from working in the pandemic.

"While trusts are prioritising the mental and physical health of their colleagues through various initiatives like wellbeing hubs, there is serious concern that sustained pressures will continue to take a toll on staffing levels. Tackling winter pressures, flu, a spike in COVID-19 hospitalisations and addressing backlogs of care are just some of the challenges facing staff now and in the coming months.

"What's urgently needed is enough staff to be recruited and retained within the NHS to not only address existing shortages, but to build flexibility into the system. Staff need realistic workloads, more regular and reliable breaks and a better work life balance. This will also result in better care for patients. The government must commit to this through a long-term, fully costed and funded workforce plan."