How do we protect and strengthen the healthcare workforce?

In the first virtual event for NHE in 2022 we saw experts and leaders from across the industry come together to discuss the large backlog the NHS is currently facing with recent figures showing that over six million people are currently waiting for healthcare.

Split into five different leader debates ranging from infrastructure to patient flow we heard specialists talk about their organisations and the NHS in how we best tackle the extensive patient backlog.

Panel one focused on workforce through recruitment and staff retention and the impacts these have had on our NHS and patient care, particularly over the past few years.

During the pandemic, staffing levels have been a concern for almost all of NHS Trusts whether that be due to not enough staff, rising absence levels due to Covid isolation or poor mental health.

James Buchan, Senior Visiting Fellow, The Health Foundation said: “we came into the pandemic with 100,000 shortages in the NHS, which meant we were already short staffed, and we were already stretched and then we faced this existential threat”.

“We cannot expect staff to continue to bear the brunt of this on an individual level, the evidence on the impact of burnout on health is very compelling, burnout leads to lower productivity, poorer quality and probably a higher staff turnover”.

Retaining the staff that we already have is a vital part of creating a unified workforce but mental well-being has become a pivotal factor since the pandemic began, something which NHS trusts like Newcastle Upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust is making a priority.

Anna Tefler, Nursing and Midwifery Practice Education and Workforce Lead, Newcastle Upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust added: “If we’re going to support our staff and recognised their wellbeing, sometimes it is just about being able to say how are you? And that leads us to think about how we can be truly be visible and there for staff”

NHE June-July 2022

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