More than 300,000 NHS workers are more likely to quit their job, warns survey

A NEW survey has warned that as many as 330,000 NHS workers are more likely to quit their job than a year ago because they are unhappy about their pay, frustrated by under-staffing and exhausted by Covid-19.

A poll by YouGov for the The Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) thinktank, which received response from 1,006 health professionals, has revealed that the pandemic has left one in four more likely to leave than a year ago. This includes 29 per cent of nurses and midwives, occupations in which the NHS has major shortages, reported The Guardian.

The IPPR has urged the ministers to initiate a ‘new deal’ for NHS staff that involves a decent pay rise, better benefits, more flexible working and fewer administrative tasks, the newspaper report added.

“The last 12 months have stretched an already very thin workforce to breaking point. Many are exhausted, frustrated and in need of better support. If the government does not do right by them now, more many leave their jobs,” said Dr Parth Patel, an NHS doctor and IPPR research fellow who co-wrote its new report on how the NHS can retain and recruit more staff, told The Guardian. 

The report, however, adds that many of these workers will not leave, but a highly dissatisfied and demoralised workforce is very bad news for patients and productivity.

According to the report, nurses, the group with the highest number of shortages, are most likely to leave.

The IPPR report follows a warning last week by the NHS Confederation, which represents hospital trusts in England, that Boris Johnson will struggle to fulfil his pledge to increase the NHS nursing workforce by 50,000 by 2024 unless staff are given proper time off to recover from the pandemic.

Asked by the IPPR what their priorities were for improving their working lives, 70 per cent of staff surveyed said a pay rise, The Guardian reported.

NHS trade unions, Labour and some of its own backbench MPs have criticised the government for offering staff only a 1 per cent pay hike when the NHS in England had budgeted for 2.1 per cent.

Prof Dame Donna Kinnair, chief executive of the Royal College of Nursing, told The Guardian: “This report should act as a wake-up call to government and force them to stop ignoring the warning signs of an exodus of nursing staff from the NHS. Ministers must now rethink their pay offer and put in proper support service for those who given so much in the last year.”

It has threatened to strike unless the 1 per cent offer is improved.

Almost nine in 10 respondents said slow government policy, for example being late to lockdown society, was a very or somewhat important reason why the UK has had one of the highest death rates in Europe from the pandemic. As many as 80 per cent cited ‘an under-resourced NHS, with little ‘spare capacity’.

A department of health and social care spokesperson said: “There are record numbers of doctors and nurses working in our NHS with nearly 10,900 more nurses and almost 6,600 more doctors than last year. We are committed to supporting every one by further boosting recruitment, investing in staff, and backing the NHS with an extra £29bn in Covid funding over the next year.”


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