New survey data highlights public concern over NHS staffing levels
New data from a survey conducted by HospitalNegligence.co.uk has suggested that the public is well aware of the staffing issues currently facing the NHS.
When asked to choose their number one concern about the health service, staffing levels was the most popular answer, with almost one-quarter citing this (23%). This was followed by waiting times (21%), privatisation of services (15%), closure of services (11%) and efficiency (9%).
When asked to describe their opinion on staffing levels, the majority (34%) of respondents selected negative answers (poor or very poor). Only 28% described staffing levels positively, selecting ‘good’ or ‘excellent’. 33% described staffing levels as ‘adequate’, with the small percentage of remaining respondents saying they didn’t know or had no opinion.
Data from a different survey, the NHS Staff Survey 2016, has also revealed high levels of work-related stress and illness among NHS staff. A staggering 37% of the approximately 423,000 employees who responded to the survey reported feeling unwell in the last 12 months due to work-related stress.
Among the different types of trusts included in the NHS Staff Survey 2016, almost half (49%) of Ambulance Trust staff reported feeling unwell from work-related stress in the last 12 months. This was followed by Mental Health/Learning Disability Trusts (40%), while Acute Specialist Trust staff had the lowest percentage (35%).
An alarming 56% of NHS staff also turned up to work despite feeling unwell in the last three months. Again, Ambulance Trust workers had the highest percentage, with 64% of staff turning up to work when unwell.
Nicholas Young, specialist medical negligence solicitor at HospitalNegligence.co.uk, says: “Work-related stress, turning up to work ill and working extra hours are a recipe for disaster. Not only is this putting the health of NHS staff at risk, it could be risking the lives of patients across the country. Ambulance Trust workers suffering from sickness and stress are much more likely to make errors; it is such a vital service and yet staff are clearly being put under immense pressure and patient safety is being compromised as a result.
“The data from our own survey shows that the public is clearly concerned about staffing issues; if there isn't enough staff, is it any wonder that NHS employees are feeling stressed? This is a problem that needs addressing. I hope that the £2bn social care investment that was announced in the Spring Budget will start to alleviate some of the pressure on NHS staff.”