Call to improve NHS staff working conditions

Hospital managers have called on the government to improve the working conditions of NHS staff to stop the number of resignations increasing even more than it already has.

Analysis in There for us: a better future for the NHS workforce, published by NHS Providers, points to disgruntlement with work-life balance as the ‘fastest-growing reason’ for voluntary resignations of NHS staff.

Doctors are top of the report’s league table of leavers, making up 15.5 per cent of staff who quit in 2015-16, a full five per cent ahead of nurses.

The report points to the real-terms six per cent in NHS staff pay between 2010 and 2017.

It says that many provider trusts are struggling to recruit and retain the staff they need to deliver high-quality care for patients and service users.

NHS hospitals had learned that there was a ‘great deal that trusts can do’ to improve junior doctors’ experience of working and training in the NHS following the industrial action last year, and many had begun to make changes to address non-contractual day-to-day issues.

The NHS Providers’ report is the latest in a series of warnings to government about the emerging staff crisis facing and afflicting the health service.

One trust leader told the report’s researchers: “The NHS is significantly dependent on the ‘heroic’ efforts of clinical and non-clinical colleagues in responding to increasing service demand within an environment of ever-challenging financial constraints (including pay/reward controls) that compromises work/life balance, learning and development and overall job satisfaction.”

Chaand Nagpaul, BMA council chair, said: “With the NHS under unprecedented workload and funding pressure, we need the government to get a grip on this mounting crisis.

“The NHS needs a clear, coherently funded plan that leads to the recruitment of more doctors, especially in currently understaffed parts of the health service.”