Health Technologies

Doctors call for better leadership to address NHS retention crisis

Frontline healthcare workers in busy NHS hospitals feel that they are “just rearranging the deckchairs on the Titanic” according to

Building on previous work from the team looking at the toll of Covid for healthcare workers, the analysis highlights multiple issues associated with poor retention.

These include a culture of blame and negativity in hospitals, untenable working environments, compromised leadership and a perceived general lack of support leading to burnout and low morale.

Across the board, participants reported feeling undervalued, with their basic demands being unmet.

These ranged from ‘sharing toilets with patients’, to poorly functioning IT systems, or the lack of rest spaces and staff rooms.

A lack of private space within hospitals meant many repondents also found it hard to decompress.

When considering how staff continue to work in such difficult conditions for so many years, comedian Harry Hill emphasised the ‘force for good’ that has traditionally motivated NHS staff.

Yet, the comic suggested, after repeated reorganisations and a lack of support, this was wearing thin.

Hill said: “When I was a doctor, doctors…were held in some esteem by society.”

Dr Adrian Boyle, President of the Royal College of Emergency Medicine said: “Working in Emergency Medicine can, by its very nature, be a high pressure and stressful job.

“Our members, and their colleagues, who go above and beyond for their patients day in day out, should not also have to battle a system which is meant to be there to nurture and support them.

“What [the research] reinforces is that the NHS must get better at caring for its workforce – its people are its greatest asset, and everything must be done to ensure their welfare.

“This research will now be shared with policymakers and will form part of the College’s advocacy work to help inform and bring about the cultural shift that is so needed in our A&Es.”



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