NHS workforce in danger of burnout, according to Deloitte Report


A recently published report from Deloitte shows that the levels of staff shortages in UK hospitals are continuing to grow, as is the evidence of burnout amongst NHS staff. Doctors and nurses are increasingly finding their perceived workload difficult to manage. In 2012, 42 percent felt that their workload was either quite or very difficult to manage. But by 2017 this figure rose to 58 percent.

As it stands now, 31 percent of those asked stated that work had negatively affected their physical health and 29 percent of those asked stated that it had negatively affected their mental health. This is leading to high levels of staff absences – with 16,886,471 sick days off work reported in 2016 – a six percent increase from 2012.

The report was launched on Monday night at the Cambridge Health Network, Time to Care: A Deloitte Workforce Event. The speakers for the evening were Karen Taylor, the Research Director of the Centre for Health Solutions at Deloitte; Simon Courage, Director of Product Management at Allocate Software and Caroline Corrigan, the National Director of People Strategy at NHS Improvement. They were in agreement that the NHS workforce was struggling, with one of the panellists saying: “the UK health sector workforce is having to work harder, faster and often with less resource”.

Deloitte has looked at the reasons behind job dissatisfaction, and it is not all about pay. Work-life balance is the leading indicator of job dissatisfaction, followed by pay concerns; inflexibility of shifts; the short amount of time allocated to engage with patients and lastly, a lack of recognition. Conversely, when looking at what made doctors and nurses feel satisfied in their work, recognition is the leading factor.

Ensuring that NHS staff feel valued and supported in their roles is crucial for the successful delivery of health care. The report shows that the ability to put their skills to good use from day to day is important to many staff, as is feeling supported by their colleagues and being given opportunities for professional development. When this is lacking, it is undoubtedly detrimental to the staff. A lack of support from colleagues is a problem for many– this is evident in the rather alarming statistic that 30 percent of NHS staff have reported that they have been bullied by colleagues.

The impact of the strain on hospital staff is leading many to reconsider their roles. The report shows that in the last year, 27 percent of doctors and nurses have considered changing profession and 26 percent have considered practising in another country. According to the report, doctors and nurses are being recruited by hospitals in America and the Middle East, where they are offered much higher salaries. It is also worth bearing in mind that in the ongoing fall-out from Brexit, many EU doctors and nurses from have stopped seeking work in the UK – a 89 percent reduction in the number of nurses and midwives applying to work in the NHS was reported at the end of 2017.

Transforming the NHS workplace is vital. The report concludes: “Unless more is done to counteract the strain on doctors and nurses, the decline in motivation, staff wellbeing and workforce productivity that is all too evident today will become unsustainable tomorrow.”

The next Cambridge Health Network event is “A framework for developing a sustainable model for integrated care with Optum”. It is taking place on 19 March. If you would like to attend, or learn more about the Cambridge Health Network, please get in touch with the team at info@cambridgehealthnetwork.com.