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Harrogate hospital staff 'stressed and anxious' over workloads

Thursday, 30 May 2024 07:32

By Thomas Barrett, Local Democracy Reporter

Jonathan Coulter (right), Chief Executive at HDFT.

The boss of Harrogate District Hospital says around one in three members of staff are stressed about their jobs due to high workloads.

The trust employs more than 4,000 people across its sites, which includes the town’s hospital on Lancaster Park Road.

Each quarter, consultancy firm Inpluse conducts a survey of staff that asks questions about their experiences working in and around Harrogate.

Harrogate and District Foundation NHS Trust chief executive Jonathan Coulter updated board members about the latest set of results, which had the highest response rate since the surveys began with 31% of employees taking part.

Of these, around 40% expressed positive emotions about their job.

However, 36% felt negatively and around 24% had mixed emotions. Anxiety, stress and frustration about high workloads were the key themes.

The statistics reflect a national trend with research published last month suggesting that half of all NHS staff are looking for jobs elsewhere and showing symptoms of burnout.

Mr Coulter said going forward that the trust would be prioritising the wellbeing of staff.

He said:

“The importance of relentlessly pursuing a supportive programme of staff wellbeing and engagement is recognised and is a priority, and we are working up a further proposal to protect and enhance the work we do in this area.”

One reason for low morale at the hospital has been the series of strikes in 2023 and early 2024.

Between December and January’s strikes, an average of 65% of the junior doctors in Harrogate were on strike with some of their roles covered internally by consultants.

It was announced today that junior doctors will strike again in June and July for five days due to their long-running dispute with the government over pay.

Members of the British Medical Association will walk out from 7am on June 27 after it said no credible offer had been made following talks.

Junior doctors represent nearly half the doctor workforce in the NHS.

The staffing crisis in the NHS is expected to be a major issue in the upcoming general election, with the next wave of strikes set to take place just a week before polling day.

Conservative health secretary Victoria Atkins accused the union of a “cynical tactic” by striking during the general election campaign.

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