On Thursday, official NHS data revealed the worst A&E crisis in history and 4.4m patients waiting longer than the 18-week limit for treatment. Today, a new Labour Party analysis of official NHS staff survey data revealed NHS staff are working a staggering one million hours of unpaid overtime each week, to help the NHS cope with its chronic understaffing.
Figures for North & East Herts Trust show staff working 5,280 hours of unpaid overtime every week, on top of 5,260 hours of paid overtime.
In the same figures, 40% of NHS healthcare workers in North & East Herts Trust responded that they had felt unwell due to stress in the previous 12 months, with 59% admitting they had come into work despite not feeling well enough to do their jobs.
This analysis raises fresh fears of burnout after the Tories this week attacked Labour’s plan to provide extra support to the NHS and its staff.
The most recent NHS Staff Survey shows nearly 270,000 NHS staff said they worked extra hours for free every week – at an average of 2.3 hours a week. Two thirds of NHS staff said their organisation hasn’t enough staff for them to do their job properly.
There are currently record vacancies in the NHS. This week Labour unveiled its NHS Rescue Plan which pledged a £26bn real terms increase, in a package which includes the recruitment of 24,000 extra nurses and expands GP training places to 5000. In total this would allow for 27 million more appointments with family doctors.
Jill Borcherds, Labour Parliamentary Candidate for Stevenage said:
“It is crystal clear from this information that our NHS is being propped up by hard-working staff working well above their actual hours, for free.
“Whilst nursing and other healthcare roles are often seen as a vocation, this dependence on staff working excess hours for nothing is clearly at the detriment to their own mental and physical health. This is completely unacceptable and Labour would properly fund our NHS to ensure staff goodwill is not abused in this way.”
Jonathan Ashworth, Labour’s Shadow Health Secretary, said:
“The NHS is in crisis after nearly a decade of Tory cuts and it’s a disgrace that it’s dedicated staff, who always put their patients first, are having to pick up the pieces to fill the gaps left by this crisis made in Downing Street.
“Boris Johnson’s Tories have let the NHS, its staff and our country badly down by intentionally slashing funding for staff training and scrapping the nursing bursary.
“Labour’s NHS Rescue Plan will restore the nursing bursary and recruit thousands of doctors and nurses that the NHS clearly needs to end the Tory crisis. You can’t trust the Tories with our NHS and we can’t have another five years of this.”