This site is intended for health professionals only

NHS staff "demoralised" by workload

New research shows that NHS staff are working longer hours, have more work to do and are feeling increasingly demotivated and demoralised.

A survey of just under 25,000 staff published by the NHS Together campaign found that 57% of those questioned are working more than their contracted hours, while 84% said their workload has increased in the last year.

And of those who said they are working more than they are contracted to, 65% said they are not getting paid for the extra work.

Some 61% told researchers that their motivation and morale has deteriorated over the past 12 months, while 60% claimed they have considered leaving their job in the last year.

Some 59% of staff said the only reason they continue to work in the NHS is because they believe they are doing something worthwhile.

Unison general secretary and TUC president Dave Prentis said: "It's down to the hard work and commitment of NHS workers that we all enjoy a world class health service.

"However, this survey shows that this dedication takes its toll on staff and their families and many are now saying 'enough is enough'.

"The survey sends out a strong message to government not to take NHS workers for granted."


Copyright © PA Business 2007

Take part in our online survey now.

Are you working longer hours than you're contracted to? How is your motivation and morale?  Please supply your comments, name and location in the feedback box below. Your details will not be published if you so request. Terms and conditions apply

"It is an absolute nightmare all round and not just for frontline staff. I am a manager and get it from corporate management to do things that don't mean a thing. My time is wasted attending meetings that are not productive and no one seems to be pulling the plug on this. I am looking to get out as I now work 1.5 hours extra everyday and take no lunch break" - Linda Haynes, Bradford

"I am so fed up of how I'm treated at work and the unrealistic deadlines. One person is doing the job of at least two or three people and it's complete and utter madness. I'll be leaving soon and I can't wait to work outside the NHS! Enough is enough. Management is the main reason for leaving and the bullying and harrassment that goes on. Also the blame that good  hardworking staff get from managers makes me sick. Most staff in the NHS look and are totally stressed out and from personal experience it takes its toll on your personal life! I feel like I have no life at the moment and I burst into tears most days but I have plans and am fortunate to be leaving soon! The situation is getting worse each day and staff are under more pressure than
ever. I am single and don't have children, don't have my own place, but If I did I would not be working in the NHS. I would rather starve than work there, not buy new things, go out less and get a job that is possible to do!" -  Name and address supplied

"I am a first year student nurse. Since I started nursing, I have been so impressed by the dedication of the nurses, but utterly shocked by the pay and conditions. Staffing levels are so poor that it is unsafe, yet despite doing a fantastic job the nurses face constant pressure and complaints from the trust. It is a nightmare and althrough I love the actual nursing, I wish that I had never started nursing." - Name and address supplied

"Motivation and morale very low. I'm working more hours at home" - Name and address supplied

"YES I am working longer hours because I am force to and I blame the management, and the goverment.  They lower  wages and conditions and  increase our workload, which means by working only the contracted hours after tax and NI you cannot make a living, especially in London therefore you are forced to work longer hours in order to make end meet" - Name and address supplied"

"Morale is the lowest it has EVER been in over 20 years in the front line of the health service.  The government promise the public higher standards and better targets whilst using us to implement their policies with fewer staff, less skill mix and more junior - therefore low paid -staff than ever before.  Training courses are few and far between, there is very little funding for CPD, and senior/experienced posts are being culled at an enormous rate forcing well qualified and experienced staff to take roles for far less salary than they deserve. Units are being closed up and down the country and staff are being made redundant at an alarming rate.  I cannot believe a Labour  government has treated us so badly. They raise the expectations of the public to unrealistic levels with their silly targets and it is us who take the blame when things do not go as they planned.  I hate this government (despite voting for them!), I hate their policies and I am beginning to hate nursing and the health service in general.  I will soon be leaving the health service completely and I shall NEVER return" - Name and address supplied

"As I am on a return to work following burnout from the job. I am very sceptical that things really won't change as staffing levels are low, apparently due to reluctance to pay for expertise. Where does the patient fit in to all of this? I do not feel I am able to do my job properly so not only do patients suffer, so do the nurses trying to deliver the care they deserve" - Name and address supplied

"It's worse than even these figures indicate. Institutional bullying has become the norm. On top of Agenda for Change which effectively [on paper] minimised the role of senior staff nurses to reduce the level of reward for knowledge, skills, and effort required for the job they are expected to do on a daily basis. The Kings Fund recently reported that a leaked document confirmed the re-grading exercise was aimed at capping the majority of nurses' earnings to control budgets. As the biggest workforce, and therefore the biggest single cost, we were sacrificed to fund larger pay for a few, while expected to do the same work. What are we, and our unions, doing about it? It has been the biggest con in our history" - Name and address supplied

"I feel we have to fight to keep our work 'patient' focused, as now it is generally 'QOF' focused so I feel it more difficult to get job satisfaction" - Name and address supplied