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Nearly a third of NHS workforce thinking of leaving, staff survey shows


By Jess Hacker
31 March 2022

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Nearly one-in-three (31.1%) NHS staff in England reported often thinking about leaving the organisation, the annual staff survey has indicated.

The figure jumped from 26.5% in 2020, marking a four-year high, the NHS said.

And according to the survey – which saw around 648,500 staff respond – more than one-in-five (22.9%) said they will ‘probably look for a job at a new organisation’ in the next year.

A further 16.6% said they intend to leave the NHS ‘as soon as they can find another job’.

It comes as MPs yesterday rejected an amendment to the Health and Care Bill intended to strengthen workforce planning, after previously voting against a near identical amendment in November.

The amendment – which had been approved by the House of Lords in March – would have seen the Government publish workforce projections and staffing numbers every two years.

The NHS staff survey also revealed that only 27.2% of staff feel their organisation has enough staff to help them do their job properly: falling from 38.4% since 2020.

And less than half of staff (43.2%) are able to meet all the conflicting demands on their time at work.

Responding to the survey, Matthew Taylor, chief executive of the NHS Confederation, said there is ‘real cause for concern’ for NHS leaders.

‘There is no hiding from the fact that the NHS is facing chronic workforce shortages, which are getting steadily worse, and with nearly three quarters of staff reporting that there are not enough staff to do their jobs properly,’ he said.

He added: ‘It’s high time for the Government to grasp the opportunity now presented through the Health and Care Bill workforce amendment and commit to setting out full and transparent staffing requirements for the NHS at regular intervals.  Not doing so is a lost opportunity and will only serve to heighten staff shortages and jeopardise the inroads the health service can make into driving down patient waiting lists.’

Recent NHS Digital figures revealed that the overall number of staff vacancies in England has topped 110,000, increasing by more than 20,000 across 2021.

Research published yesterday found that patient satisfaction with GP services has taken a 30 percentage-point dive since before the pandemic.

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