The British healthcare system is grappling with an alarming surge in nurse resignations within NHS hospitals, reaching its highest point in a decade with over 41,000 recent departures. In 2022 alone, employee turnover witnessed a staggering increase of more than 25% compared to the figures recorded in 2019.
This article sheds light on the remuneration levels for NHS staff members, investigates the underlying causes behind British nurses opting out of their roles, and evaluates how pay structures are organized within the National Health Service.
The Collapsing British Healthcare System: What’s Really Going Wrong?
NHS staff wages are low. New data from the NHS workforce statistics show that the employment of foreign nurses in this country has increased by two-thirds since 2019. The same year, the British government promised to hire 50,000 more nurses by the end of 2024, before the national elections. Statistics show that the possibility of fulfilling this promise is not unlikely, but according to the research of Nuffield Institute, a significant part of these people were hired from abroad.
The Philippines is a labour supplier for the British medical system.
NHS staff wages have caused discontent among British nurses. Statistical data shows that a fifth of the UK’s nursing, midwifery and nursing assistant workforce has been trained abroad. The Philippines has traditionally been one of the critical sources of labour for the British medical system. Still, reports indicate that German and Canadian medical procedures are increasingly targeting the country.
The inability of British competitiveness to attract a foreign workforce
NHS staff wages have caused the UK to need help in providing labour. Senior officials of the NHS are worried that if the competition to attract foreign workforce increases and nurses are forced to choose their work destination, the British health service will not be able to compete due to economic problems.
The instability of international recruitment of medical Staff in the UK
Miriam Deakin, director of policy and strategy at the National Health Service, said: “It’s very worrying that after a decade of underinvestment, severe staff shortages and insufficient capacity to meet the increasing demand that our overstretched NHS isn’t top of the international league table when it comes to certain performance indicators and outcomes.” He added: “The NHS is almost bottom of the league regarding investment in vital machines such as CT and MRI scanners per person.”
Unfavourable working conditions of British Medical Staff
NHS staff wages have sparked several strikes in recent years. “There are no simple, short-term fixes to address the shortage of nurses,” said Layla McCay, NHS Confederation policy director. “The impact of these staff shortages is real. More than eight in ten nurses said staffing levels on their last shift were insufficient to meet patients’ needs and that only a quarter of shifts had the planned number of registered nurses.” This report was published while British nurses had stopped working several times in protest against unfavourable working conditions, low wages and overwork. They want a significant wage increase due to the double-digit inflation, rampant growth in living costs and livelihood problems.
Leaving the medical staff job in the UK
More than 41,000 nurses are among those who have left their jobs at NHS hospitals, the highest rate of resignations in at least a decade. The number of employees who left their jobs in 2022 has increased by more than a quarter compared to 2019. Sir Julian Hartley, chief executive of NHS Providers, also said: “Staff did brilliant work during the pandemic, but there has been no respite. The data on people leaving is worrying, and we need to see it reversed.”
Continuation of strikes and protests of British Medical Staff
As per reports from British media, protesting nurses intend to persist with their protests and strikes until the end of the current year. Meanwhile, recent research reveals that most British citizens are expressing dissatisfaction with the performance of the British health system due to a significant decline in medical services and an ongoing widespread strike by employees in the healthcare sector.
Distribution of patients between medical centres during strikes
Two months ago, the British Prime Minister held a joint emergency meeting with the presence of the ministers of finance, health and protesting unions. Still, it did not bring a concrete result that would prevent the continuation of the strikes. This meeting led to the formation of a headquarters inside the hospitals to distribute the patients among the medical centres when the employees of this department were on strike.
The dissatisfaction of British citizens with the service level of the Medical Staff
The joint findings of a survey by the prestigious YouGov and The Times show that according to two-thirds of the British people, the level of medical services in this country is dire, and 80% believe that the situation has worsened over the past five years, that is, after UK left the EU.
Record waiting times for treatment in the UK
According to data, approximately 7.22 million individuals were waiting for routine hospital treatment by the conclusion of February. This figure represents an increase of about 10,000 compared to the previous month, reaching the highest rate in 16 years. In the last year, statistical data indicated that over 125,000 individuals had to endure wait times exceeding 12 hours before admission. Furthermore, the number of patients experiencing at least a four-hour delay from entrance to transfer to a ward rose from 126,948 in February to 144,292 in March, signifying a 14% increase.
Longer response times for ambulances in England
The response time of ambulances has also increased for all kinds of emergencies, and one out of every ten people who visited the emergency room waited more than 12 hours to receive medical services. Of course, the number of patients waiting for treatment for more than 18 months has decreased by 35%, and the British government plans to reduce this list to zero by the end of this month, except for exceptional cases. But the observers consider realising such a vision unlikely due to the continuous and extensive strikes of doctors in this country.
The double pressure of the NHS budget on the UK government
The British National Health Service was established for the first time in 1948, after the end of the Second World War, to provide medical services to the injured and wounded. This organisation currently provides health services to the people of the UK for free, with 1,600,000 employees. The NHS budget was around £437 million in the year it was launched (in today’s value of around £9 billion), but this figure has now reached around £136 billion and has put much pressure on the government’s budget.
Economic crises affecting the British health system
The British economy is facing its most severe downturn in the last fifty years, primarily attributed to successive crises, including the Covid-19 pandemic and the effects of the conflict in Ukraine. The head of the Bank of England (BoE) has expressed concerns that the country is enduring an extended period of economic stagnation. As a result of the ongoing financial crisis, the British health system has also been significantly impacted. Employees in the medical sector have participated in multiple strikes over the past few months, yet the government remains reluctant to enhance their working conditions and raise their wages.