Response to the Health and Social Care committee’s report 'Workforce burnout and resilience in the NHS and social care'

Published: 10/06/2021

Professor Ravi Mahajan, President of the Royal College of Anaesthetists said:

“The workforce findings raised in the Health and Care Select Committee report confirm what the College and those working within the healthcare sector have been saying for many years. Poor staff retention and lack of effective long-term workforce planning and investment has left countless NHS staff burnt out and exhausted, with many considering cutting back hours or leaving the medical profession altogether.

“Prior to the pandemic, the NHS and social care services were already facing considerable pressures with workforce growth not keeping pace with the changing and growing population. Anaesthetists are going to great lengths to care for patients and deliver safe care within an already stretched system, often at the expense of their own health and wellbeing, as highlighted in our evidence to the Committee inquiry. The pandemic has exacerbated these concerns with the College’s most recent membership survey showing one-in-three anaesthetists are suffering with mental health issues. It is simply not sustainable to expect NHS staff to continue to do more with less.

“The healthcare workers so crucial to the treatment of patients in the pandemic are the same ones who are being relied upon to build back services. The government’s commitments to staff welfare and wellbeing set out in the People Plan are a good start. However, no amount of wellbeing initiatives will improve morale and reduce burnout without a long-term sustainable commitment to addressing workforce shortages across the whole of the health and social care system. The government and the NHS need to understand that action is required now.”

If members are experiencing burnout or fatigue, please speak with your College representatives who will be able to provide guidance and support.

Information and resources to help prevent and manage burnout and fatigue can also be found here: