Results of the 2018 NHS Staff Survey were published in February 2019 and contain worrying statistic about working hours, work related stress and patient safety. The survey results reflect the experience of 497,117 NHS employees and covers employees of all 230 Trusts in England.
The results are:
- 57.8% of staff worked additional unpaid overtime
- 39.8% of staff felt unwell as a result of work related stress in the last 12 months
- 27.8% of staff saw an error, near miss or incident in the last month that could have hurt patients/ service users
The unfortunate and inevitable consequence of such working conditions is an increased exposure of medical practitioners to ‘fitness to practice’ investigations by their regulatory bodies.
The fundamental cause of the current situation in the NHS is under-resourcing. This is not a new phenomenon.
The General Medical Council (GMC) in its 2018 report “the state of medical education and practice in the UK” dedicates a section to the state of the medical workforce. A notable concern the GMC has is the effect of Brexit on the ability of qualified doctors from the European Economic Area (EEA) to join the UK medical register.
It is hoped that the government heeds these concerns and does what it can to alleviate the current pressures on the NHS. This would in turn improve working conditions and ultimately the standard of care received by patients.