The NHS faces an alarming mass exodus of doctors and dental professionals, the health chief says, after a report revealed four in 10 could quit their jobs due to “intolerable” stress.
According to the UK there are approximately 200,000 doctors, dental specialists and other healthcare professionals.
In a survey of more than 800 doctors and dental professionals in the UK conducted by the MDU in the past month and seen by The Guardian, 40% agreed or strongly agreed that they were likely to resign or retire within the next five years, This is the direct cause of “workplace pressure”.
Medical leaders called the report “deeply concerning”. There are 133,000 NHS job vacancies in England alone.
The NHS chief said it exposed the impact of the crisis in the health service on staff, and MPs said it should serve as a “wake-up call” to ministers that action was urgently needed to convince thousands of NHS staff to head for the exits door to stay.
The report comes as the government is due to release an urgent and urgent care strategy on Monday. It said it would provide tailored support to tens of thousands of older and vulnerable people at home in an effort to move some NHS care out of hospital.
However, NHS leaders said the plan came too late as ministers were “sluggish” in responding to pressure from the NHS. Staff are likely to take further strike action as disputes over pay and working conditions continue, with an MDU report suggesting that as many as four in 10 doctors and dental professionals may have quit healthcare by 2028.
“These figures are staggering,” said Eddie Crouch, chairman of the British Dental Association. “NHS dentists work in a broken system and many have given up hope of change.”
Matt Davies, president of the Society of Anesthesiologists, said the MDU report revealed how the “tremendous stress” experienced by staff working in “increasingly intolerable working conditions” could lead to thousands of permanent injuries. quit.
“In the long run, doctors come into the profession to make a difference for their patients,” he said. “It is clear that many who responded to the MDU survey said they were considering retiring or leaving the industry within the next five years.”
Professor Camilla Hawthorne, president of the Royal College of General Practitioners, said the figures matched what her members had told her. She added that, based on the college’s own internal figures, just 15,000 GPs could leave the NHS entirely within the next five years.
“As these findings show, the intense work pressure on GPs is causing burnout for many and causing many to reconsider their future work in the NHS,” Hawthorne said.
The MDU report found that 88 percent of physicians and dental professionals said workplace stress had increased over the past three years, and 48 percent said they had reduced their hours at work to cope with stress.
Ninety percent said they often or occasionally felt completely exhausted at the end of their shifts, while 83% said their work often or occasionally left them exhausted.
“Our members are under tremendous pressure,” said Dr Caroline Fryar, director of MDU medical services. “The pressure on the system is not only making it difficult for patients to access healthcare easily or quickly, but it is also extremely difficult for our members.”
The MDU reported that 63% of physicians and dental professionals felt that relationships with patients and colleagues had become more strained in the past three years, with 20% experiencing abuse or threats.
“They wanted to provide the best possible care for their patients, but they told us they were often overwhelmed by the many conflicting demands on their time,” Fryar said. “This is affecting the clinician/patient relationship, and our members often bear the brunt of patient dissatisfaction, which in itself is demoralizing.”
Healthcare and NHS leaders say the impact on patients will be catastrophic unless action is taken to stop an already dire workforce crisis from escalating. “Every new job opening leaves thousands of people [patients] Not getting the care you need,” Crouch said.
Matthew Taylor, chief executive of the NHS Federation, which represents the entire healthcare system in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, said: “The situation will worsen if the government does not take targeted action, including investing in committed NHS workforce plans to increase medical training. positions and is prepared to negotiate pay with unions to avoid further damaging strikes.”
Hawthorne called on the government to develop and implement a “bold recruitment and retention strategy” to ensure there are sufficient numbers of doctors to provide patients with “the care they need and deserve”.
“The government must publish its long-term workforce plan without delay – and it must take cost and funding into account,” said Miriam Deakin, policy director at NHS Providers, noting that pressure has been the most common reason one. Regular staff sick leave.
The party’s health spokeswoman, Lib Dem MP Daisy Cooper, said: “These findings are incredibly shocking and suggest that unless the government acts now, we could be seeing a further exodus of NHS staff.
“In many parts of the country, people are already struggling to get an appointment with their GP or dentist and this is making matters worse. This should be a wake-up call to Conservative ministers that they need to end the vicious cycle of staff shortages and burnout cycle.”
Wes Streeting, the shadow health secretary, said: “The NHS doesn’t have enough doctors at the moment; it simply cannot afford to lose more.”
A spokesman for the Department of Health and Social Care said the NHS faced “enormous challenges” due to flu, coronavirus and a backlog of care, adding that record numbers of staff were working in the health service.
“We are committed to releasing a comprehensive workforce strategy this year to help recruit and retain more employees,” the spokesperson added.