Current staff burnout and stress levels presents a ‘worrying risk’ to safe patient care

BMA press release

Location: UK
Published: Tuesday 8 June 2021

Commenting on the Health and Social Care Committee’s Report on Workforce Burnout and Resilience in the NHS and Social Care, Dr David Wrigley, BMA wellbeing lead, said:

“The fact that we have an overstretched, understaffed workforce is not new, but this report makes clear that all health and care staff desperately need Government support now. The BMA submitted evidence to this inquiry; we welcome the report’s recommendations for an overhaul of workforce planning and agree that additional wellbeing support put in place for health and care staff during this pandemic should continue to be made available post Covid-19.

“Health and care staff suffered stress and work related anxiety before the pandemic but it is now far more serious and we believe the current level of staff burnout and stress presents a worrying risk to the future functioning of the health and care system and safe patient care.

“There’s an urgent need to address the severe workforce crisis facing health and care services, and – as called for by the BMA and others - the report also calls for continuous and transparent assessments of workforce shortages and future staffing requirements. The Association supports this as it’s the only way to ensure that the Government takes accountability for providing safe staffing levels and adequate funds and resources.

“We also welcome the recommendations to address the inequalities faced by health and care staff from minority ethnic backgrounds including the specific challenges in relation to workplace culture, burnout and resilience. Evidence given to the Inquiry by the BMA shows that staff from these backgrounds have been disproportionately affected by the pandemic, experience worse inequalities in the NHS and increased discrimination as a significant factor in burnout. Now that these experiences have been identified along with a clear series of actions to address them, the Government must put plans in place to execute said actions as a matter of urgency.

“The report has identified the seriousness of the situation within the health and care system and highlighted concerning figures from the BMA’s regular surveys, so now we’re calling on the Government to act on the recommendations and identify further solutions as a priority. If not, we risk missing an opportunity to create a sustainable and safe health and care system which is in the interest of both healthcare workers and patients alike.”

Notes to editors

The BMA is a trade union and professional association representing and negotiating on behalf of all doctors in the UK. A leading voice advocating for outstanding health care and a healthy population. An association providing members with excellent individual services and support throughout their lives.