New inquiry to  examine workforce burnout

July 31, 2020

The Health and Social Care Committee  (HSC) has  launched  a new inquiry to  examine workforce burnout across the NHS and social care.

It will consider  increased pressures  brought by  COVID-19  and  the resilience of services to cope with  high levels of  staff  stress.  NHS Providers  has  reported  that 92% of trusts  were concerned about burnout among their staff.

To aid their new inquiry, MPs are calling for evidence  to examine the  impacts of workforce burnout on  a range of areas from  service delivery  to the  social care sectors.  They will also  focus on the  Government’s workforce  planning, including measures set out in the  NHS  People Plan  so far, assessing its effectiveness to  deliver  staff  numbers  expected to be required  across  medical and social care  professions. Those  in  training  in order  to  meet  future  demands for  patient care will also be assessed.

The absence of an equivalent  workforce  plan  for social  care  and  how  parity with the NHS could be achieved  will also be considered. A separate  HSC  inquiry  is being carried out into  social care’s funding and workforce.

Health and Social Care Committee Chair, Rt Hon Jeremy Hunt MP, said,   'The resilience of NHS and social care staff to deliver care during the COVID-19 pandemic has been tested to the limits. That so many staff were willing to risk their personal safety to do so is testimony to the commitment and dedication of the workforce.

'Our objective is to produce a report that shows what levels of staffing in health and social care are sufficient to avoid burnout and meet future challenges. That means we need a rigorous assessment of the overall numbers that will be needed to deliver services over a ten year period, and how many people we should be training in order to meet that target. It’s disappointing that the recently announced People Plan has not yet provided this.

'We’ll be looking carefully at NHS and social care measures that would not only protect staff from pressures that predate the COVID-19 crisis but, crucially, address new challenges we’re facing as a result of it.'

The Committee invites written submissions addressing any or  all of  the following points:

  • How resilient was the NHS and social care workforce under pre-COVID-19 operating conditions, and how might that resilience be strengthened in the future?
  • What has the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic been on resilience, levels of workforce stress, and burnout across the NHS and social care sectors?
  • What is the current scale of workforce burnout across NHS and social care? How does it manifest, how is it assessed, and what are its causes and contributing factors? To what extent are NHS and care staff able to balance their working and personal lives?
  • What are the impacts of workforce burnout on service delivery, staff, patients and service users across the NHS and social care sectors?
  • What long term projections for the future health and social care workforce are available, and how many more staff are required so that burnout and pressure on the front line are reduced? To what extent are staff establishments in line with current and future resilience requirements?
  • To what extent are there sufficient numbers of NHS and social care professionals in training for service and resilience planning? On what basis are decisions made about the supply and demand for professionals in training?
  • Will the measures announced in the People Plan so far be enough to increase resilience, improve working life and productivity, and reduce the risk of workforce burnout across the NHS, both now and in the future?
  • What further measures will be required to tackle and mitigate the causes of workforce stress and burnout, and what should be put in place to achieve parity for the social care workforce?

Evidence should be submitted  to the Health and Social Care Committee inquiry page by Friday 4th September.

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