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Thousands of NHS workers are ‘too stressed or depressed to work’

Between December 2017 and November 2018 NHS staff took 17.7 million sick days.

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Mental health condition such as stress, anxiety, depression make up 4.2 million sick days.

Figure from NHS Digital have revealed that thousands of NHS workers are ‘too stressed to work’

Last year between December 2017 and November 2018 NHS workers in England took 17.7 million days sick.

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Mental health condition such as stress, anxiety and depression made up 4.2 million of these days. This is more than double the amount of days taken for musculoskeletal conditions or a cold.

This news comes only weeks after we revealed that an upward trend in sickness absence days has coincided with a rise in demand for NHS services and a vacancy rate at an all-time high.

Urgent action is needed.

Unison claims that the intolerable working conditions seen throughout the health service are pushing NHS employees to the brink. They warn that without urgent action – the situation. could only worsen.

Helga Pile, Deputy Head of Health for the Union said; “Chronic staff shortages mean NHS employees are routinely asked to do more with fewer resources as they desperately try to keep the service afloat,”

“The government urgently needs to invest in the NHS to cut staff shortages and reduce burnout, and workers who have anxiety, depression and stress must get rapid access to mental health support services.”

Barriers to disclosure.

MIND claims that many healthcare workers are worried about being deemed unfit to practice if they ask for help.

Emma Mamo, Head of Workplace Wellbeing at the Charity, said; “We know there can be particular barriers for healthcare staff when disclosing a mental health problem to their employer, such as fears about being deemed unfit to practise,”

“Those of us with mental health problems can and do make a valuable contribution to the workplace, it just means some of us might need extra support from time to time.”

Workforce

Patient safety in danger unless nurse numbers increased, warns RCN

The college is encouraging people to speak out about the impact of England’s nurse shortage.

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There have only been an extra 9,894 nurses recruited to NHS hospitals since 2013.

The shortage of nursing staff in England is putting patient safety in danger, the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) warns today as it use the first World Patient Safety Day to launch a new campaign.

The campaign encourages the people to speak out about the potentially devastating impact of the nursing shortage.

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There are an estimated 40,000 unfilled nursing vacancies in England alone.

It calls for legislation to be brought forward in England to help address the nursing workforce crisis. Earlier this year, nurses and support workers in Scotland secured new legislation on safe staffing levels after a nurse staffing law was introduced in Wales in 2016.

There are not enough nurses.

A new analysis by the RCN shows that for every one extra nurse NHS acute Trusts in England have managed to recruit in the five years since 2013/14, there were 157 extra admissions to hospital as emergencies or for planned treatment.

Last year the number of extra admissions for every additional nurse taken on increased to 217.  The analysis shows that the extra 9,894 nurses recruited to NHS hospitals since 2013/14 is dwarfed by the additional 1,557,074 admissions over the same period.

Public carried out to mark the campaign launch reveals that 71 per cent of the public think there are not enough nurses to provide safe care to patients and 67 per cent of the public in England wrongly think the Government has a legal responsibility to ensure there are sufficient nursing staff.

The 2013 Francis Report on failings of care Stafford Hospital concluded that the main factor responsible was a significant shortage of nurses at the hospital.

Issuing a stark warning

Dame Donna Kinnair, RCN Chief Executive and General Secretary, said: “Today we’re issuing a stark warning that patient safety is being endangered by nursing shortages.  Staffing shortfalls are never simply numbers on a spreadsheet – they affect real patients in real communities.

“We’re calling on the public in England to fight for nurses and sign our petition calling on the Westminster Government to invest in the future workforce and make clear who is accountable in law for safe patient care. 

“Our polling shows almost two-thirds of people already fear there aren’t enough nurses to provide safe care – and they want recruiting more nurses to be the top priority for any extra funding for the NHS in England. 

“Nurses are the single most trusted professional group in the whole country, with 96% of the public placing them at the top of a list of occupations including doctors, teachers, the police and scientists.  Nursing staff are asking for your support in calling time on this crisis.”

‘Too much pressure’.

Responding to the RCN’s campaign on safe and effective staffing for patient care; Andrea Sutcliffe CBE, Chief Executive and Registrar at the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC), said: “Every time we, or someone we love, needs care, we trust nurses and midwives with the right skills and knowledge to be there to meet our needs.

“The RCN analysis echoes some of the NMC’s own findings. Our survey of nurses and midwives leaving the register revealed that almost a third of respondents cited too much pressure leading to stress and/or poor mental health as a top reason for leaving. And our research with the public tells us they fear these most trusted professionals are held back by the pressures of today’s health and care system.

“You only have to look at some of the stories we are sharing in our Always Caring, Always Nursing campaign to see the difference these dedicated professionals can make in people’s lives.

“Additional resources to support nurses and midwives is a wise investment now and for the future.”

You can sign a petition to support the campaign. 

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Health Politics

‘NHS Passports’ will allow staff to ‘plug gaps’ in any hospital at short notice

A union has warned that patient care should not be compromised for convenience. 

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Staff will be able to any hospital to plug gaps in staffing and improve patients’ care.

Healthcare staff in England will soon be able to move seamlessly between hospital sites in a bid to make it easier to take on new roles, plug gaps in staffing and improve patients’ care.

Following successful pilot projects, all hospitals in England are being urged to sign-up to passporting agreements, which will remove the need for inductions and other admin when staff move between NHS organisations.

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Clinicians working in hospitals that have these agreements will be able to freely move between any hospital to provide patient care.

The deployment of staff across a number of different NHS sites through passporting has already been trialed successfully at five hospitals across London.

Serious concerns.

Jeeves Wijesuriya, Chair of the British Medical Association’s (BMA) Junior Doctors Committee admitted the scheme may bring about some positive changes but warned that patient care should not be compromised for convenience.

They added; “it is important employers do not use these changes to redeploy staff to unknown areas outside of their training programme at short notice and without agreement – risking our patients safety, training and worsening morale through lack of autonomy.

“Furthermore, the BMA has serious concerns over plans to cut inductions as part of the scheme.

“Inductions are key for patient safety and play an essential part in ensuring that doctors are able to safely practice in new environments.”

Helping to build careers.

Prerana Issar, the Chief People Officer for NHS England and NHS Improvement said that the move will help to build the careers of clinicians.

She said; “This shows we are delivering on our Long Term Plan promises to improve flexible working for staff and ensuring the right clinician is available for patients.

“By making unwieldy paper staff schedules a thing of the past and introducing passporting, we are supporting our world-class staff so they can not only continue to give patients brilliant care, but further build their careers as they do so.”

NHS England also announced the nationwide introduction of e-rostering.

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