Whilst the current government is constantly talking about investing heavily in the NHS, many of the challenges facing public healthcare in the UK remain unchanged. More specifically, nurses and fellow members of staff are suffering as a result of increased workloads and repeated reorganisation, with the NHS constantly cutting its cloth according to its resources.
This is a significant challenge within the NHS, particularly as the pressure placed on nurses, doctors and other healthcare employees impacts directly on the quality of care that’s delivered to patients.
In this article, we’ll look at the challenges posed by employee burnout and stress and ask what steps are being taken by the NHS to resolve these issues.
The Burden Being Placed on NHS Staff Members
Whilst many suggest that the burden being placed on the NHS is a result of increased immigration into the country, this ignores the fact that successive Tory governments have failed to invest at the required level to sustain the service.
It also ignores the number of immigrants who work in the NHS, which is helping to ease the burden on individual employees year-on-year.
Thanks to a sustained lack of investment, nurses in particular have been required to take on increased workloads, whilst a rise in the number of staff vacancies in the NHS has also contributed to repeated reorganisation of time and labour.
With clinical negligence claims also rising nationwide, a culture of blame is emerging in the National Health Service and taking a further toll on those who work tirelessly within the organisation.
The impact of these factors should not be underestimated, with the unprecedented pressure being placed on nurses is forcing many to reconsider their perception of the Health Service.
More specifically, we’ve seen job satisfaction, pay and staffing levels decline markedly since 2013, with just 41% claiming that they feel valued within the NHS. At the same time, the proportion of those agreeing that they would recommend their organisation has dropped to record lows, and this is hardly indicative of a sector that’s thriving.
How is the NHS Dealing with These Issues?
With staff nurses facing an increased risk of burnout in the UK, the NHS is being forced to take steps to help resolve this issue.
One way in which the NHS is looking to deal with the issue is by creating a less fractured and fast-paced culture, by leveraging technology to improve processes, drive higher levels of efficiency and minimise the time taken to process patients.
Take the type of patient flow technology made available by service providers such as Servelec, which helps to reduce the delays in healthcare delivery and minimise the time taken to treat patients. In this instance, improved patient flows also ease the burden placed on nurses, whilst minimising the time required to complete administration tasks.
The same principle applies to electronic patient records (EPR), which also reduces the time taken to diagnose patients and share information between different healthcare departments.
Of course, much work is to be done if the typical nurse workload is to be reduced even further, whilst additional investment from the government is also a must. However, the NHS is at least aware of the challenges facing its employees, and leveraging technology to meet these head-on!