The Courage of Compassion - The King's Fund report on nurses and midwives

By Andrew Stark. Published 2020-09-25
BOLD-Living
A report released by The King's Fund and Royal College of Nursing goes some way in identifying what needs to be done to provide the support our nurses need

The King's Fund is an independent charity that work on improving health and care in England and were commissioned by the Royal College of Nursing Foundation to look at the support that nurses and midwives need in order to keep delivering the high-quality care that we need.

We won't have the latest statistics from the NHS regarding reasons for leaving and staff movements until October, however the previous report issued in June brings through to March 2020. Clearly a lot has changed since then and we know that over 600 NHS workers have sadly died so we're expecting to see this sad statistic rise.

What I find insightful though is that even just at the start of 2020 the proportion of people leaving the NHS due to retirement has gone from 14% in 2019 to 21% in 2020; a number which had been fairly static since 2011 when it was 13% of the leavers. The proportion of people resigning due to work life balance increased from 3% in 2001 to 11% in 2020, further validating the dissatisfaction that people are feeling in terms of the burden that is being placed on them.

Some of the reasons that are included in "resigned - other" are for relocation (11% of total leavers in 2020) and "not known" (17% of total leavers in 2020).

NHS leaving

Further to this the May 2020 sickness and absence rates were released yesterday which show that the NHS lost 510,281 full time equivalent days due to anxiety and stress (28.3% of all sickness and absence in May 2020). 340,900 full time equivalent days were lost due to covid-19 related sickenss.

At St Thomas' and Guy's Hopsital where Dave Carr who we recently interviewed works they saw a stark increase in the monthly absence rates from from an average of 3.5% in 2019 to 5.7% in March, 6.2% in April and 4.0% in May of 2020. If we take the annual rate of 28% of sickness due to anxiety and stress this means that at St Thomas' and Guys they've had 11065 days lost from January to May 2020 due to anxiety and stress. We can anticipate these numbers staying at this higher level unless we do something about caring for our carers. These are not just statistics, these are actual people caring for us that have had to take time off due to stress and anxiety!

The Kings Fund report has identified three core needs that need to be met to "ensure wellbeing and motivation at work, and to minimise stress".

Autonomy - the need to have control over their work lives, and to be able to act consistently with their values

Belonging - the need to be connected to, cared for, and caring of others around them at work, and to feel valued, respected and supported

Contribution - the need to experience effectiveness in what they do and deliver valued outcomes

Furthermore the report identified 8 key recommendations. The key word there though is recommendations. From our conversation with Dave it is clear that more than just recommendations are needed. The staff on the ground are telling us what they want and need, and those in charge are not listening.

The full report from The Kings Fund can be read here