Eight in 10 NHS staff have reported that current pressures are as concerning now as they were during the peak of the pandemic

COVID virus visualisation two tone

An NHS Charities Together/YouGov poll has found that eight in 10 NHS staff feel that current pressures are as concerning now as they were during the peak of the pandemic.

Of more than 1000 staff surveyed in August:

  • 81% said that there’s still a significant growth in problems

  • 96% believe that pressures will continue for years

  • 75% are concerned about a rise in respiratory illnesses this winter

  • 39% reported exhaustion

  • 44% stated that they have experienced anxiety since the start of the pandemic

  • 23% said that they have experienced depression

  • 66% were able to access support at their workplace

  • 89% said that the NHS had done ‘the best possible job tackling COVID-19’

  • 84% were proud to work for the health service.

Charities Together Chief Executive, Ellie Orton, said that the survey findings highlighted ‘the huge mental toll the pandemic took and continues to take’.

NHS backlog

The survey also found that 73% were concerned about the backlog of NHS treatment and diagnosis after the pandemic.

Separately, Acting General Medical Council (GMC) Chair, Professor Dame Carrie MacEwen, said that the long waiting lists are ‘deeply distressing’ for doctors, leading many to consider reducing their hours or leaving medicine.

She told the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow conference: ‘Not being able to give patients what they need has a cumulative effect, one that undermines patient trust and wears doctors down. We know that doctors experiencing severe workload pressures are more likely to consider stepping back from practice.’

She quoted GMC research involving 13,000 doctors who had quit: ‘Doctors who left UK practice between 2004 and 2019 gave dissatisfaction and burnout as two of the main reasons for doing so. And this was before the start of the pandemic.’

Workplace issues were behind dissatisfaction for 36% of respondents, burnout for 27%, and bullying for 5.5%, all of which the GMC is seeking to address.

‘This matters. Not just because bullying, burnout, and bad culture are a moral stain on our health services. But because they have a material impact on the number of doctors available to staff them and to look after our patients’, Dame Carrie said.

‘Simply put, poor working environments lead to poor outcomes for patients. That’s the main reason this work is a strategic imperative for us.’

This article originally appeared on Medscape, part of the Medscape Professional Network.

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