Saturday, November 16, 2019

Who supports the NHS?

NHS staff are working over a million hours a week of unpaid overtime to help the health service deal with an unprecedented demand for care, according to research.

Many staff put in extra hours for no extra pay, and that some do as much as 11 hours a week unpaid overtime. The staff survey’s finding that doctors and dentists work an average of 3.6 hours a week unpaid overtime. Nurses do about three hours and allied health professionals such as physiotherapists an average of 2.2 hours.

The number of vacant posts in the NHS in England has risen in recent years, leaving hospitals, ambulance services and mental health services short of about 100,000 doctors, nurses and other staff.

Applications to study nursing have fallen by 30% and the number of students starting relevant degree courses by 9% since then chancellor, George Osborne, scrapped the bursary for nurses, midwives and some other health professionals in 2016. 

“With major staffing shortages across nursing and general practice the NHS is ever more reliant on the commitment of staff to go the extra mile. That commitment to patient care is a huge asset but it’s no substitute for having enough staff to meet demand”, said Anita Charlesworth, director of research and economics at the Health Foundation thinktank. “Ultimately nursing shortages are a policy choice not an inevitability. We need to train more staff and provide a better offer to the people currently in the NHS so that fewer leave.”

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