Staff Survey: NHS ‘descending into the abyss’

HCSA has warned that the NHS in England is “descending into the abyss” after annual Staff Survey results revealed a drastic decline in wellbeing and a workforce crisis.

President Dr Claudia Paoloni accused the government of complacency and neglect after the annual NHS Staff Survey 2021 revealed:

  • a severe decline in confidence on staffing levels to only around a quarter stating “there are enough staff at this organisation for me to do my job properly”
  • a big rise to nearly half of the workforce left unwell due to work-related stress (47.2% in acute and acute and community settings)
  • nearly a third of staff “often thinking about leaving” their employer
  • one in six planning to leave their employer as soon as they can find another job.

Dr Paoloni said: “These results are shocking and reflect an NHS which is descending into the abyss.

“We have been warning time and again that staff are being taken for granted and asked to do the impossible and that, without a sea change, they will vote with their feet.

“The warning there are not enough of us to do our job properly is due to successive decisions to suppress pay and an abject failure to properly acknowledge or grasp the nettle on increasing workforce gaps.

“Taken alongside years of underfunding and complacency towards staff, who seem to be seen by policy-makers as a costly inconvenience rather than the core component of our health service, this is leading to rampant ill health and threatens a further exodus.

“So far, no-one appears to have the bravery or will to compare the numbers we have against the number we need, acknowledge that we must pay and treat our people adequately, and then fund our NHS to deliver this.

“This is not some abstract question. If the government doesn’t act we will face increasing chaos and declining levels of care. Patients will pay the ultimate price for this neglect.”