Conference recognises the pressing issue of employee burnout in the workplace and the detrimental impact it has on worker’s well-being and productivity.
According to the most recent NHS staff survey, only a quarter of the NHS workforce say there are enough staff to do their jobs properly and a third feel burnt out.
Staffing shortages in maternity services are chronic and longstanding, the NHS in England is short of 2,500 midwives. The impact of these shortages are felt by midwives and MSWs on a daily basis.
A survey by the RCM in March found that Midwives and MSWs are working 100,000 unpaid hours a week to prop up maternity services. 74 per cent face unrealistic time pressures and workloads and a majority feel exhausted or burnt out at the end of their shift.
In addition to these extra unpaid hours to fill gaps in rotas employers are increasingly imposing on-call systems on staff on their days off to cover for shortages. This is forced overtime. It is detrimental to the health, safety and wellbeing of staff, and will ultimately exacerbate the staffing crisis by forcing more maternity workers out of the profession.
The blame for the workforce crisis lies squarely at the feet of government. The NHS Long Term Workforce Plan contains commitments around retention of staff including flexible working and health and wellbeing support but urgent action is required.
Proactive steps must be taken to promote the health and wellbeing of workers, such as better communication channels between staff and management so any issues or concerns are addressed in a timely and effective manner. Employers must take immediate action to reduce the stress and fatigue that staff are experiencing.
We must see increased investment for staff development and training, to ensure staff are equipped with the necessary skills and knowledge to effectively manage their workloads and mental health.
Particularly among allied health professionals alike, understanding burnout is a vital factor amidst a workforce crisis of recruitment and retention. These strategies should be based on partnership working principles and recognise trade union health and safety representatives’ key role in inspecting workplaces, inputting to risk assessment processes, and notifying employers of hazards at work.
By addressing employee burnout, we aim to foster healthier and more sustainable working environments that prioritise worker well-being.
Congress calls for:
i. further investment in NHS retention measures that support flexible working and the health and safety of staff
ii. fair pay for the extra hours worked in the NHS
iii. an end to forced overtime through the inappropriate use of on-call systems.
iv. require all workplaces to regularly review their policies and procedures to reduce workloads and ensure better work-life balance for employees
v. advocate for the mandatory adoption of burnout prevention strategies
vi. increase access to mental health support and counselling services, with a focus on early intervention and prevention of burnout.
Supporter : CSP