Written evidence submitted by Sue Ryder (WBR0022)


This evidence sets out Sue Ryder’s views and experiences that span across different questions, so the questions have been grouped accordingly.

Sue Ryder supports people through the most difficult times of their lives. For over 65 years our doctors, nurses and carers have given people the compassionate and expert care they need to help them live the best life they possibly can. We take the time to understand what’s important to people and give them choice and control over their care. We see a future where our palliative and neurological care reaches more communities; where we can help more people begin to cope with bereavement; and where everyone can access the quality care they deserve.


Across the UK we have six hospices and associated community palliative care services, one standalone community palliative care service and four specialist neurological centres. We also provide bereavement support via our Online Bereavement Community and Online Bereavement Counselling, in addition to that provided by our family support teams in our hospices.


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 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? 

         Workforce shortages are persisting across both palliative and neurological care, and indeed across the health and social care sector as a whole. If the current situation continues, the whole sector will be placed under more and more pressure as the number of health and social care professionals fails to keep up with demand.

         Planning to meet the NHS workforce should not take place in isolation. Nursing staff, allied health professionals and doctors work for a range of other employers outside of the NHS and, as the system moves towards integration across CCGs/ICSs, this is likely to become increasingly the case. A systems approach is required; however at present local partnerships vary in their readiness and capacity to take on wider health and social care workforce planning.

         As part of a systems approach, it is important to model workforce planning on genuine population needs. Local Workforce Action Boards must consider all the health and care services their population need, not just the NHS. The response to COVID-19 has underlined how palliative and other social care services are vital partners in frontline care delivery.



For more information contact Elinor Jayne, Head of Influencing,

Sept 2020


[1] Sue Ryder Neurological Care Centre Dee View Court has a Band 7 Nurse vacancy rate of 55%; Sue Ryder Thorpe Hall Hospice has a Band 3 Nurse Assistant vacancy rate of 53% (June 2020)


[2] Sue Ryder warns of increase in need for palliative care as a residual impact of coronavirus pandemic, Sue Ryder, (16 June 2020), www.sueryder.org/news/sue-ryder-warns-of-increase-in-need-for-palliative-care-as-a-residual-impact-of-coronavirus


[3] Study conducted by DATA-CAN, the Health Care Research Hub (HDR UK) for Cancer, BBC News (6 July 2020), www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-53300784