LinkedIn’s insights into NHS staffing issues, which were released this morning, run through stats that feel depressingly recognisable to all those familiar with our health service’s current workforce woes.
It’s no surprise that salary concerns are not primary amongst NHS clinicians. Struggling under unprecedented workloads, only 25% of doctors and 41% of nurses and midwives “feel like they have a high level of work-life balance”, according to LinkedIn’s survey.
As a former Junior Doctor, this sounds about right. Working in the NHS offers very little flexibility. Night shifts, draining rota patterns, the inability to make plans more than three months in advance. In an age where work is becoming increasing flexible and work-life balance considered paramount — it’s no surprise that more than 50% of junior doctors take a break or go elsewhere after their foundation years.
This creates a vicious cycle. As more staff leave, the pressure of those who remain becomes ever more intense. Clinicians are facing rising stress levels, burn-out and, in the worst cases, find themselves in a position where they can’t provide safe, competent care.
And for Trusts, this issue is adding to the financial stresses they already face. Gaps appearing in staff rotas is a dilemma on which NHS Trusts are spending £3bn annually to try and solve. It’s a costly, temporary solution to a crisis that’s been decades in the making.
If we are to create a working environment where doctors and nurses can be supported to thrive, we can reduce the spend on temporary staff and foster a more positive, safer working culture for our clinicians. As someone who has lived this reality, I know all too well that we must act quickly to change what it means to work in the NHS, before these worrying trends develop into a reality we can’t reverse.
Read more about what Patchwork is doing to help here.