Burnout, morale amongst lowest scores on NHS Staff Survey 2021; dozens of workers exhausted and looking to quit 

LONDON, ENGLAND — Burnout is prevalent amongst healthcare workers, as nearly 50 percent of some 1.3 million National Health Service (NHS) employees said they feel worn out at the end of their workday.

According to the National Health Service (NHS) Staff Survey 2021, ambulance (operator) staff, nurses, and midwives are amongst healthcare workers most likely to feel burnt out.

In particular, “ambulance (operational) staff and registered nurses & midwives were particularly likely to describe feeling burnt out,” according to the recently-published results of the annual NHS Staff Survey.

The survey was conducted between September and December 2021, with 280 NHS organisations — including 217 trusts in England — taking part. It did not, however, include primary care staff.

For the first time since the survey was launched in 2003, it also sought to measure its findings against the seven elements of the NHS People Promise, which are: “we are compassionate and inclusive,” “we are recognized and rewarded,” “we each have a voice that counts,” “we are safe and healthy,” “we are always learning,” “we work flexibly,” and “we are a team”.

“Burnout” fell under the “we are safe and healthy” component, and earned a score of 4.9 out of 10 — one of the lowest scores recorded in the entire survey.

 

Healthcare worker burnout

According to the National Health Service (NHS) Staff Survey 2021, 39.4 percent of healthcare workers surveyed said their work frustrates them.

Delving into the precise percentage of NHS healthcare workers expressing some measure of burnout, the survey reported a whopping 46.5 percent said “they feel worn out at the end of their working day/shift.”

Another 39.4 percent said their work frustrates them, while 38 percent said they find their work emotionally exhausting, and 34.3 percent said they feel burnt out because of their work.

A staggering 51 percent of ambulance (operational) services workers accounted for those saying they felt burnt out, alongside similarly high percentages amongst registered nurses and midwives (40.5 percent), nursing and healthcare assistants (38 percent) and medical and dental services workers (33.1 percent).

This as compared to the wider healthcare team, of which just slightly over 25 percent accounted for those feeling burnt out.

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    Morale at lowest in four years

    Coupled with the low score for burnout amongst the healthcare workers was a “morale” theme score, which came in at 5.8 out of 10.

    Under the “morale” theme, three statistics relating to healthcare workers thinking of leaving their organisations were at four-year highs, suggesting an image of a workforce frustrated and burnt out to the point of wanting to quit.

    The survey’s results have raised many concerns as the COVID-19 pandemic is ongoing and healthcare workers remain in high demand.

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    References:

    National Health Service Staff Survey 2021 – https://www.nhsstaffsurveys.com/static/f5b196e5bf02b9e0c65f3820f586697d/ST21_National-briefing.pdf

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