Skip to main content

MPs seek evidence on staff burnout across the NHS and social care 

31 July 2020

The Committee has launched a new inquiry to examine workforce burnout across the NHS and social care. It will consider increased pressures brought by Covid-19 and the resilience of services to cope with high levels of staff stress. NHS Providers has reported that 92% of trusts were concerned about burnout among their staff. 

MPs are calling for evidence to assess the impacts of workforce burnout on a range of areas from service delivery to the social care sectors. They will also focus on the government's workforce planning, including measures set out in the NHS People Plan so far, and assess the effectiveness of the Plan to deliver on staff numbers expected to be required across medical and social care professions, and those in training in order to meet future demands for patient care will also be assessed.  

The absence of an equivalent workforce plan for social care and how parity with the NHS could be achieved will also be considered. A separate HSC inquiry is being carried out into social care's funding and workforce.  

Chair's comments

Health and Social Care Committee Chair Rt Hon Jeremy Hunt MP said:   

“The resilience of NHS and social care staff to deliver care during the Covid pandemic has been tested to the limits. That so many staff were willing to risk their personal safety to do so is testimony to the commitment and dedication of the workforce. 

“Our objective is to produce a report that shows what levels of staffing in health and social care are sufficient to avoid burnout and meet future challenges. That means we need a rigorous assessment of the overall numbers that will be needed to deliver services over a ten year period, and how many people we should be training in order to meet that target. It's disappointing that the recently announced People Plan has not yet provided this.

“We'll be looking carefully at NHS and social care measures that would not only protect staff from pressures that predate the Covid crisis but, crucially, address new challenges we're facing as a result of it.”

Terms of reference 

The Committee invites written submissions addressing any or all of the following points:   

  • How resilient was the NHS and social care workforce under pre-COVID-19 operating conditions, and how might that resilience be strengthened in the future?   
  • What has the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic been on resilience, levels of workforce stress, and burnout across the NHS and social care sectors?   
  • What is the current scale of workforce burnout across NHS and social care?  How does it manifest, how is it assessed, and what are its causes and contributing factors?  To what extent are NHS and care staff able to balance their working and personal lives?  
  • What are the impacts of workforce burnout on service delivery, staff, patients and service users across the NHS and social care sectors?   
  • What long term projections for the future health and social care workforce are available, and how many more staff are required so that burnout and pressure on the frontline are reduced? To what extent are staff establishments in line with current and future resilience requirements?  
  • To what extent are there sufficient numbers of NHS and social care professionals in training for service and resilience planning? On what basis are decisions made about the supply and demand for professionals in training?   
  • Will the measures announced in the People Plan so far be enough to increase resilience, improve working life and productivity, and reduce the risk of workforce burnout across the NHS, both now and in the future?   
  • What further measures will be required to tackle and mitigate the causes of workforce stress and burnout, and what should be put in place to achieve parity for the social care workforce? 

Evidence should be submitted to the Health and Social Care Committee inquiry page by Friday 4 September. 

Further information

Image: PA