Helping with Burnout and Resilience

The report from The Health and Social Care Committee Workforce report Burnout and Resilience in the NHS and Social Care was published on Tuesday 8 June 2021.

As I read it I couldn’t help thinking that our work is increasingly relevant in social care and the NHS. We know it also works in charity settings and I am beginning to think of the many other organisations struggling with the repercussions of COVID-19.

The report

As the report clearly states, workforce burnout was an issue in the NHS and social care workforce long before covid-19 and it needs to be tackled now more than ever. The unprecedented challenges presented by the pandemic worsened existing problems.44% of respondents to the NHS Staff Survey reported feeling unwell as a result of work-related stress in the last 12 months and that is steadily increasing. Unfortunately there seems to be no data directly comparable to the NHS Staff Survey available for social care workers.
Maybe it is time such data was collected across all health and care workers simultaneously.

Workforce experiences

Staff who are burnt out are at increased risk of error-making and are more likely to suffer from low engagement (lack of vigour, dedication and absorption in work), cynicism, and compassion fatigue.
Royal College of Midwives, written evidence to the inquiry

20% of the workforce are unhappy, bullied more, promoted less, and dying disproportionately
Lord Adebowale, Chair of NHS Confederation on NHS leaders and their BAME communities

Over 90% of the doctors who had died during the pandemic came from BAME backgrounds.
Dr Chaand Nagpaul, Chair of BMA Council

Recruitment and retention predictions
The NHS workforce gap in 2020–21 was 115,000 FTE. This is projected to double over the next five years.
Health Foundation, written evidence to the inquiry

Alongside the figures for the NHS, the Health Foundation and the Institute for Fiscal Studies predicts that 458,000 social care staff would be required, in England alone, by 2033–34.

The Plan

In July 2020, NHS England and Improvement published “We are the NHS: People Plan 2020–21”. According to the plan, employers across the NHS should

  • Invest in physical health and wellbeing
  • Make flexible working a priority
  • Create an inclusive and diverse workplace
  • Maximise opportunities for multi-professional working and developing new skills
  • Create time and space for education and training

I have been unable to find an equivalent of the NHS People Plan for the social care workforce but from our conversations with many managers and frontline NHS staff and carers we know that addressing all these issues would make as significant a contribution to social care as to the NHS.

We are also fully aligned with the report with reference to organisation culture and compassionate leadership.

We have evidence that shows that organisations where there is more ability for staff to take part in making decisions and influencing how things are decided are the trusts that have lower mortality rates. They have better outcomes generally for patients and better outcomes generally for staff.
Professor Jeremy Dawson, Sheffield University, oral evidence to the inquiry

Our programs are facilitating collaborative and supportive working; resilience beyond just ‘bouncing back’; and the development of cultures built around shared values and vision.

We are introducing Recovery Champions and Peer Support Workers in both health and social care settings to models of working and living that develop individuals’ resilience, readiness for the unexpected, and willingness to walk along others in the face of challenges – both pre-existing and pandemic related.


Find out more about Recovery Champions here
Find out more about Peer Support Workers here
Workforce burnout and resilience in the NHS and social care can be read here
The Health and Social care Committee has its own website here