NHS burnout: Jeremy Hunt explains the long term 'failure' of the Government

8 June 2021, 16:52

By Sam Sholli

Former Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt reveals the long-term 'failure' of the Government towards NHS staff, as almost half of all workers are burned out and suffer from work-related stress.

The Health and Social Care Committee report, which Mr Hunt chairs, has warned of NHS staff experiencing burnout.

In its report, the committee has called for a "total overhaul of the way the NHS does workforce planning".

It also said the Covid-19 pandemic has "revealed so many critical staff shortages" which have been "the biggest driver of burnout".

Mr Hunt was asked by LBC's Nick Ferrari if patients' lives could be put at risk due to NHS facing "chronic understaffing" and it having staff facing "tremendous stress going through the pandemic".

Mr Hunt replied: "Yes. And the World Health Organisation defines 'burnout' as something very different to just having a stressful day at work. They describe it as chronic fatigue, emotional exhaustion, feeling distanced from your job.

"And all those things are things that ultimately will affect patient care, which is why it's so important to put them right."

The former Health Secretary went on to claim that the Government is "doing a lot" to tackle the issue and "are listening" to the advice.

"There is still this big issue that in nearly every medical specialty, we don't have enough doctors or enough nurses. I think there's a long-term problem that we need to fix.

"There's a market failure, when it comes to a Spending Review the Treasury and the Department of Health are both thinking this is the number of doctors we're going to have in seven years' time, that's a long way off, so they prioritise other things."

Mr Hunt called for an independent body to evaluate NHS staff shortages, citing that 44% of NHS staff are suffering from work-related stress while still going to work.

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