Staff burnout in social care and health at 'emergency level'

By Laura Sharman | 08 June 2021

Workforce burnout in social care and the NHS has reached an ‘emergency level’, MPs have warned today.

In a new report, the Health and Social Care Committee says only a total overhaul of workforce planning can provide a solution to the crisis.

The committee found staff shortages were the biggest driver of workforce burnout. Workforce planning has also been driven by the funding available, rather than the level of demand and staffing capacity.

It warns that without action, workforce burnout poses a risk to the future functioning of social care and the NHS.

Jeremy Hunt, chair of the committee, said: 'Workforce burnout across the NHS and care systems now presents an extraordinarily dangerous risk to the future functioning of both services.

'An absence of proper, detailed workforce planning has contributed to this, and was exposed by the pandemic with its many demands on staff. However, staff shortages existed long before COVID-19.

'Staff face unacceptable pressure with chronic excessive workload identified as a key driver of workforce burnout. It will simply not be possible to address the backlog caused by the pandemic unless these issues are addressed.'

The Local Government Association (LGA) said the report highlighted the need for the Government to bring forward its proposals for social care reform.

Cllr David Fothergill, chairman of the LGA’s Community Wellbeing Board, said: 'Despite their extraordinary endeavours, this report rightly highlights we still face a huge recruitment and retention crisis in social care, with more than 100,000 vacancies available on any given day and extremely high turnover rates.

'Social care deserves parity of esteem with the NHS and action is desperately needed for the care workforce including on pay, conditions, professionalisation, skills and training.'

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