NHS staff at risk of burnout amid strikes
Senior Content Officer, Mental Health at Work
As junior doctors strike over pay, a report from thehighlights how NHS staff are at risk of worsening mental wellbeing due to the difficulties of working in healthcare.
NHS staff are at risk of their physical and mental health being damaged due to burnout,.
SOM’s research found that NHS England experienced an absence rate of 5.6% in 2022 – the equivalent of losing nearly 75,000 staff to illness – with burnout a considerable factor in those lost days.
is a state of physical and emotional exhaustion. It can leave those experiencing it feeling frustrated, angry, disengaged from their job, and unable to perform at their best. Some people may also develop headaches, , and start relying on to cope.
54% of doctors displayed signs of emotional exhaustion
According to the 2022 NHS workforce survey, more than a third of healthcare staff reported feeling burned-out at work. Staff in clinical roles were found to be most vulnerable. Further data shows that 54% of doctors displayed signs of emotional exhaustion, and nearly 40% of nurses ‘often’ or ‘always’ felt burned-out at work.
Risk factors for burnout include long working hours, low levels of support from managers, and poorly managed. While burnout can affect people in any industry, it is particularly prevalent in healthcare due to the need for staff to be constantly focused on the needs of others.
“Burnout is an extremely serious matter that impacts workplaces across Britain, but it is a particular problem in healthcare settings,” says Professor Gail Kinman, the author of the report. “We know thatare more likely than most to experience burnout and therefore it is vitally important that we take urgent action.”
A strike can add to feelings of anxiety and stress
The report comes as junior doctors across England stage a strike over, with senior doctors also planning a walk-out later in July.
“Uncertainty and disruption to our routines, such as a strike, can add to feelings of anxiety and stress,” says Andrew Berrie, Head of Workplace Wellbeing at Mind. “If you are currently on strike, or planning to be soon, remember to a break from the news might also help you to feel less anxious.to look after your mental wellbeing. Try to find time to relax, and take part in some hobbies or interests you enjoy. Taking
“Most of all – be kind to yourself. Different things will work for different people, and finding something that works for you can make a big difference to your mental wellbeing.”
When it comes to improving conditions for NHS staff, the SOM report suggests line managers should be trained on spotting the signs of burnout so staff can be supported before it seriously affects their lives. Additionally, more should be done to correct the conditions that lead to burnout in the first place – such as fostering a workplace culture where showing vulnerability is not stigmatised, and whereis encouraged.
Occupational health is so important in fighting burnout in healthcare
SOM CEO Nick Pahl said SOM is committed to working with the Government and the NHS to meet these challenges head-on.
“This new report outlines in detail why universalis so important in fighting burnout in healthcare,” he says. “The NHS workforce plan’s aim is to reduce the overall leaver rate for NHS-employed staff from 9.1% (2022) to between 7.4% and 8.2% over the next 15 years. This can only occur by investing in occupational health – reversing burnout, tackling root causes, so that NHS staff can return to work well.”