Report warns of workforce burnout in NHS and care staff

An image of a staff member looking exhausted from burnout

The health and social care committee has called for "immediate action" to support staff who have worked through the Covid-19 pandemic. Picture: GETTY IMAGES/ISTOCKPHOTO - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Tackling the "emergency" level of burnout facing NHS and social care staff will not be solved without overhauling the workforce a new report has found.

During the pandemic, Norfolk nurses broke down in tears in video blogs reflecting on the challenges they face, which others described "a baptism of fire".

And now, the health and social care committee has called for "immediate action" in the report which warned "the shortages in the health and care workforce will endure, to the detriment of both the service provision and the staff". 

During the pandemic, the NHS Staff Survey found 44pc of staff reported feeling unwell as a result of work-related stress in the previous 12 months. 

MPs also addressed the situation as "fragile" within adult social care with a Norfolk care home owner said the lead

He said: "This government has ignored the needs of the sector and diminished the esteem of its healthcare staff who over the past year have worked tirelessly to protect all those in their care whist having to cover for so many of their colleagues during the pandemic.

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"Is it any wonder that healthcare staff are fatigue, burnt out whilst having to contend with anxiety of being thrown into the frontline?"

The report said the emergency of workforce burnout would not be solved without a "total overhaul" of the way the NHS did workforce planning.

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It continued: "After the pandemic, which revealed so many critical staff shortages, the least we can do for staff is to show there  is a long-term solution to those shortages, ultimately the biggest driver of burnout."

It further recommended annual reports from Health Education England on workforce needs in health and social care covering the next five to 20 years.

Former health secretary, Jeremy Hunt, who is chairman of the committee, said it was not possible to address the backlog unless the issues were tackled and failure to do so would lead to more burnout and expenditure on locum and agency staff.

Helen Maw, RCN senior officer for Norfolk and Suffolk, said employers' focus on staff wellbeing was vital following unprecedented pressures.

A spokesperson for the Norfolk and Waveney Health and Care Partnership on behalf of the region's three hospital trusts and GPs said it was working to provide through extra physical, mental and wellbeing offering.

The spokesman said: "Our health and care staff have gone above and beyond to care for their patients during the worst pandemic in a century. We would like to acknowledge and thank them for the enormous efforts they and their teams have made and continue to make to fight the COVID-19 pandemic and to vaccinate and protect local people and communities from the virus.

“We recognise the pressures that staff have and continue to face and supporting their health and wellbeing is a top priority. Extra physical, mental, social/family and financial wellbeing offers of support and resources have been in place for staff during the pandemic and we continue to work together as a system to look at ways we can further support the health and wellbeing of our workforce during this challenging time.”

Have you been affected by issues raised in this report and would be happy to speak to a reporter? Please email

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