Staff burnout in the NHS and social care has reached emergency levels and poses a risk to the future of services, MPs have warned.
In a highly critical report published on 8 June, the Commons Health and Social Care Committee called for immediate action to support staff who are exhausted from working throughout the Covid-19 pandemic.
“Burnout will not be solved without a total overhaul of the way the NHS does workforce planning. The least we can do for staff is to show there is a long-term solution to those shortages, ultimately the biggest driver of burnout,” according to the report.
The committee said the problems existed before the pandemic – although coronavirus has worsened the pressures. Last July, the health and social care committee – made up of MPs and chaired by former Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt – launched an inquiry to look at the issue, including the level of burnt-out amongst NHS staff.
The latest report said one of the main problems was that there was no accurate “workforce planning” forecast of how many staff the NHS needed for the next five to 10 years. It said there needed to be a “total overhaul of the way the NHS does workforce planning” and there should be annual reports published on how many workers the NHS would need for the next five, 10 and 20 years.
According to the NHS staff survey in 2020, 44 per cent of staff reported feeling unwell as a result of work-related stress in the previous year.