What people working in health and care are saying about their experiences

Headlines
I’m overstretched, undervalued and exhausted
I need more time and resources
I struggle with money
I think there are too many gaps in health and care

I’m overstretched, undervalued and exhausted

The people who care for us – NHS Staff, care staff and unpaid carers – share that they often feel emotional and physical exhaustion. Not feeling cared for by their employer has a knock-on effect on the mental health of staff, and on the quality of care they can give.

NHS workers and paid carers aren’t always given enough support, or told how to get it. This could be anything from help with their own wellbeing to support when facing abuse.

Unpaid carers share that they struggle with a lack of support. Often this means their mental health gets worse.

Organisations that represent people providing care report that these are common experiences.Three in five carers (61%) in England are stressed because of their caring responsibilities. Almost every other NHS staff member (44%) report feeling unwell because of work-related stress (NHS Staff Survey).

Since the start of the pandemic, large numbers of staff have been thinking of leaving their jobs (British Medical Association and the Royal College of Nursing).

I need more time and resources

Loads of staff who took part share they need more time to do their jobs justice. NHS staff talk about how important it is to listen to and comfort patients, but that they don’t have the time.

Doctors say doubling-up as managers and accountants cuts the time they have for patients.

Unpaid carers say they worry about problems arranging for someone else to look after their loved ones when they need a break. Even when carers have needed surgery, nobody has been there to cover them. 

Care workers share that they have been driven to the limit by the pandemic. A GMB survey found three in four home care (81%) and care home (74%) workers frequently had to rush their jobs because not enough time was allotted to the people they cared for.

I struggle with money

Health and particularly care workers shared concerns about low pay. They worried it would put people off careers in health and care, and make staff shortages worse.

Many unpaid carers share that they struggle with money. They often make difficult financial decisions like giving up work or taking on debt to fund a loved one’s care needs.

Our survey found one in ten people (10%) aged between 45 – 64 have had to give up work or reduce their working hours to care for a loved one. Carers UK found that two in five carers (39%) struggle to make ends meet.

I think there are too many gaps in health and care

Gaps in health and care support put pressure on the people who care for us.

Staff share that covering gaps in mental health services often fall on health and care professionals who aren’t specially trained.

Care workers worry about problems with admitting and discharging people they care for from hospital. They also shared that they’re not always kept informed of the medical needs of the person they care for.

Health workers say disjoints in health and care mean people fall through the cracks.

Some doctors raise that we need to build on what’s already working and avoid constant reorganisations of the NHS.