There is no “psychological contract” any longer… Compassion – not bullying is needed. “Workforce crisis may be irreversible”…

Nick Triggle reports for BBC News 10th June 2016: NHS staff crisis ‘worse than cash woes’ and all of us in the professions know this to be true. Compassion – not bullying is needed now… for both doctors and patients. (Not for politicians). The high standards of communication and consultation skills will not be met with emergency doctors from Poland Spain and Romania, and they will block places in the future for our own…. The Kings Fund agrees that the “Workforce crisis may be irreversible”. The short term perverse nature of politics is responsible for the rationing which has led to this situation, along with a denial of the need to ration.

The growing crisis in workforce morale is a greater risk to the NHS than the financial problems it is grappling with, a leading health expert says.

Nigel Edwards, chief executive of the Nuffield Trust think tank, warned staff shortages, disputes with government and bullying were creating a “toxic mix”.

He said if the problems persisted, the affinity staff felt for the NHS could be irreparably broken.

The warning comes amid growing tensions between the workforce and ministers.

This year has seen a series of strikes by junior doctors in England, while nurses and midwives have been protesting about plans to scrap the bursaries they receive while they are studying.

Mr Edwards said this industrial unrest was happening at a time when there were looming shortages – last month, a report by the Public Accounts Committee warned the NHS was short of about 50,000 staff out of a front-line workforce of just over 800,000.

The most recent staff survey – published earlier this year – also highlighted the problem, with only 31% of respondents saying there was enough staff for them to do their jobs properly.

Failure

The Nuffield Trust also pointed to feedback it had received from health managers warning about deteriorating morale and uncontrollable growth in workload.

One manager said there was a “creeping sense of inevitability and acceptance that failure will happen at some point”.

Mr Edwards said the care and compassion of health workers was underpinned by a “psychological” contract.

He said while financial problems – last month it was revealed NHS trusts had overspent by a record £2.45bn in 2015-16 – could be rectified in time, deteriorating morale was harder to fix.

“Once the psychological contract with staff is broken, it may be impossible to reverse,” he added.

Siva Anandaciva, of NHS Providers, which represents NHS trusts, said he shared the concerns.

“This is a pivotal time for the NHS, with extreme financial and capacity challenges putting extra pressure on staff,” he said.

“Perhaps inevitably, staff morale can take a battering.”

A Department of Health spokeswoman said there were signs in the staff survey that some measures were improving.

She added: “Good leadership is the single most critical ingredient to raising morale in any team.

“We also see that the best hospitals combine tight financial grip, an unrelenting focus on improving patient care and high levels of staff engagement.”

NHS short of front-line staff after bad planning, say MPs

10 May 2016
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This entry was posted in A Personal View, Perverse Incentives, Political Representatives and activists, Rationing, Stories in the Media on by .

About Roger Burns - retired GP

I am a retired GP and medical educator. I have supported patient participation throughout my career, and my practice, St Thomas; Surgery, has had a longstanding and active Patient Participation Group (PPG). I support the idea of Community Health Councils, although I feel they should be funded at arms length from government. I have taught GP trainees for 30 years, and been a Programme Director for GP training in Pembrokeshire 20 years. I served on the Pembrokeshire LHG and LHB for a total of 10 years. I completed an MBA in 1996, and I along with most others, never had an exit interview from any job in the NHS! I completed an MBA in 1996, and was a runner up for the Adam Smith prize for economy and efficiency in government in that year. This was owing to a suggestion (St Thomas' Mutual) that practices had incentives for saving by being allowed to buy rationed out services in the following year.

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