This briefing sets out to understand the pressures currently affecting the NHS workforce and the impact that they in turn may have on the wellbeing both of individual staff and the health service as a whole. These include implications for patient care and experience and some consideration of the implications for improvement.
As the NHS workforce has grown substantially over recent years, so too has staff sickness. NHS Employers estimate that 30% of NHS sick leave is caused by stress, costing up to £400 million a year in lost productivity. Additionally “presenteeism” – described as the act of attending work while sick –doubles the costs of absenteeism. Related to this are the hidden costs of mental illness in staff. The total cost to the NHS of mental health related staff illness stands at £1.3bn (£1,000 per employee).