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NHS staff leaving hospitals to ‘stack shelves in supermarkets’

NHS staff leaving hospitals to ‘stack shelves in supermarkets’

By Carolyn Wickware
8 May 2017

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Politicians must address the rapidly growing concerns over the NHS workforce in the upcoming general election, NHS Providers has said.

In a seven-point policy paper, NHS Providers has said that, despite historically long financial constraints, trust leaders are reporting that finding and keeping employees with the right skills in the workforce ‘has become their biggest challenge’.

Politicians must address the rapidly growing concerns over the NHS workforce in the upcoming general election, NHS Providers has said.

In a seven-point policy paper, NHS Providers has said that, despite historically long financial constraints, trust leaders are reporting that finding and keeping employees with the right skills in the workforce ‘has become their biggest challenge’.

According to the trade body’s chief executive, Chris Hopson, lower paid staff in hospitals are leaving the health service ‘to stack shelves in supermarkets rather than carry on working in the NHS.’

NHS Providers has said that NHS services are closing unnecessarily with the timeliness and quality of care that patients receive being ‘adversely affected’.

The policy paper gives several examples of when NHS workforce shortages have impacted patient care, including a lack of mental health nurses leading to delays in treatment, people taking longer to recover, and more expensive care with worse patient experience.

The paper calls on politicians to increase funding for trusts, allowing them to deliver the standard of care patients expect.

Mr Hopson said: ‘Growing problems of recruitment and retention are making it harder for trusts to ensure patient safety. Unsustainable staffing gaps are quickly opening up in hospitals, mental health and community trusts and ambulance services.’

He added that this was due to years of pay restraint and stressful working conditions, leading to burnout.

He said: ‘Significant numbers of trusts say lower paid staff are leaving to stack shelves in supermarkets rather than carry on working in the NHS.’

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