The value of work-life balance – helping to avoid burnout

England’s health and social care services face “the greatest workforce crisis in their history”;  recruitment, training and retention issues have been exacerbated by the pandemic. New research by the Nuffield Trust shows the NHS in England is short of 12,000 hospital doctors and more than 50,000 nurses and midwives, as revealed in a new report from the committee.

The caring nature and desire to deliver care have long been used to bridge the pay gap to the private sector. But has it gone too far, with Community carers earning less than a Starbucks barista? The cost per mile for travel to patients is less than the fuel cost. The majority of NHS staff feel they are being underpaid, with just under a third (32.7%) saying they are satisfied with their salary. Remuneration within the NHS is always a critical factor in staff retention, but what other issues exist? 

Burnout is a serious problem that negatively impacts physicians, patients, families, and the entire care team. A survey carried out by NHS Providers of its membership at the end of June 2020 showed that 92% of Trusts agreed with the statement “I am concerned about staff wellbeing, stress and burnout following the pandemic”.

The result is that many in an exhausted workforce are considering leaving – and if they do, pressure will increase still further on their colleagues, the study said, adding that some simple things are not in place, such as access to hot food and drink on shifts and flexible working.

These negative experiences have led to a decline in overall job satisfaction, which has seen the number of staff willing to recommend their organisation as a workplace drop from 66.8% in 2020 to 59.4% in 2021.

As suppliers to the NHS, it is imperative that we ensure our product increases the efficiency of workflow and communication and provides the ability to switch off. Ultimately we all need to do what we can to help the incredible staff within the NHS avoid burnout and protect their mental wellbeing.