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NHS Nurses Beyond Breaking Point

A 2012 survey of members of the Royal College of Nurses, ‘Beyond breaking point’ has identified that nurses are struggling with life in the NHS; says Personal Injury Solicitor Simon Allen.

Sadly not only has there been no real improvement since a similar study in 2005 but in certain respects their working life is more difficult. There are 5 primary stressors; namely: demands, control role, management support, peer support and change.

To attempt to combat these issues the recommendations include:

  1. Ensure safe staffing levels
  2. Ensure staff take breaks
  3. Undertake risk assessments  on stress
  4. Recognising absenteeism as an issue
  5. Ensure appropriate adjustments to support employees with disabilities
  6. Provide support for mental illness.

It is shocking that over half (56%) of nurses work extra (unpaid) hours on every shift or several shifts per week, caused, in the main, by the decrease in staffing levels. Unsurprisingly nurses are less enthusiastic about their careers than at any other time in the past decade.

The consequence of such a working life is an increase in the risk of mental illness through stress as well as physical injury through inadvertence caused by tiredness.

More government cut backs will doubtless not improve this situation with more nurses suffering as a result.

Simon Allen is the National Practice Group Leader for Personal Injury at Slater and Gordon Lawyers.

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