Government responds to Health and Social Care Committee’s report on workforce burnout and resilience in the NHS and social care.

The committee’s report explored several key issues, including:

  • the scale and impact of workforce burnout and its contributing factors

  • the impact of workplace culture on burnout and the further work needed to create an inclusive and compassionate working environment that better supports staff in the health and care sector

  • the unique impact that the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has had on the workforce

  • how more comprehensive workforce planning is necessary to ensure the health and care sector has the number of staff it needs both now and in the longer term

Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, in an extensive response, said:

“We know that the pressure on the workforce has been (and continues to be) extremely high, as noted by the committee and by many of those who gave evidence throughout the course of the enquiry. Staff have worked long hours responding to the pressures in the system and have been unwavering in their care for patients and those in receipt of care. Whilst work to improve the wellbeing and day to day experiences of the workforce started well before the pandemic began, it has brought into sharp focus the huge importance of our work on staff wellbeing. As we recover, we will work with systems and providers to ensure a culture of staff health and wellbeing is embedded across all organisations. As a government, we remain committed to providing the workforce with the health and wellbeing support they need both now and in the longer term.

“It is also vital that we continue to learn from our experiences during COVID-19. The health and care sector has been challenged on a scale and pace not previously seen and these pressures have encouraged the very best in teams. Compassionate and inclusive leadership has been brought to the forefront and we have seen some great examples of innovation and excellence in practice. We should encourage the adoption of new practices that have worked well, to ensure the health and care sector rebuilds in a way that is even better than before.

“However, the pandemic has also highlighted disparities in experience for some staff working in the health and care system. In their report, the committee highlights the disproportionate impact the pandemic has had on staff from ethnic minority backgrounds and emphasised that the treatment of staff from ethnic minorities too often falls short from the high standards that all staff should rightfully expect.

“We recognise that more needs to be done to support leaders and teams to create an inclusive and compassionate workplace culture for everyone that works in the NHS. We have increased the size of the NHS workforce over the last decade and this growth continues to be a key focus to ensure we meet the rise in demand for health and care services. Ensuring the NHS is well staffed, with colleagues well looked after, to prevent pressures becoming too great, is a priority for this government. Ongoing recruitment and workforce support will be central to continuing to manage the pandemic and supporting recovery in the NHS, as well as delivering the ambitions of the NHS Long Term Plan.”

Read the full response.

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