Staff are already burnt out – now they face a second wave, warn NHS leaders

Senior leaders across the NHS have raised serious concerns about the wellbeing of their staff.

Matt Bodell
7 October 2020
Nurse in mask

The report warns of a “perfect storm” of shortages, burnout, and increasing workload.

Senior leaders across the NHS have raised serious concerns about the wellbeing of their staff following the first wave of Coronavirus.

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A new report from NHS Providers, the organisation that represents NHS Trusts in England, gained the views of nearly 200 senior trust executives from 140 different NHS trusts.

The report provides a stark warning of a “perfect storm” combining workforce shortages with staff burnout, and increasing workload ahead as the pandemic continued.

Almost every executive (99%) reported being either extremely or moderately concerned about the levels of staff burnout they were seeing in their organisation.

One trust executive told NHS Providers; “Staff have been working in high stress circumstances for quite some time, long hours and not having leave.”

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Action is needed now.

The Royal College of Nursing admitted that “stress show little sign of decreasing”.

Dame Donna Kinnair, Chief Executive and General Secretary of the RCN, said; “Nursing staff are feeling pressures like never before, concerned for their own wellbeing as well as their patients. While levels of stress show little sign of decreasing, concerns about staffing levels are only going up.

“Government must act now to deliver the nursing staff needed.

“There has been investment in beds and buildings but whether hospitals are rebuilt or wholly new, they will struggle to provide safe and effective patient care without enough nurses.

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“With many citing pay as a reason for thinking of leaving, one of the immediate actions government must take is to give nursing staff an early, meaningful pay rise of 12.5% that recognises their skills, responsibilities and experience.”

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