Eka’s Weekly Roundup (24 February 2023)
Issue 19 l NHS staff pressures
Chronic NHS shortages are compounding pressure on medical staff. Poor working conditions, absenteeism, declines in real wages, and a shifting labour force are adding pressure to an already struggling system. We take a closer look at Sky’s data dive on why so many staff are leaving the health service.
The NHS pressure cooker 🗞️
Why are staff leaving?
The majority of departures in the last year came down to low work-life balance (WLB). Of the 17k departures, 60% were related to WLB. By comparison, only 3k of resignations were due to relocation and health respectively.
Another way to look at stress is with the ‘lost working days’ number shown below. In September 2022, mental health concerns cost the NHS over 175k working days. This is is 40% higher than the next most significant cause of absenteeism (infectious diseases).
In any given day on that month, one in every 42 ambulance support staff were absent due to mental health. With midwives, it was one in 52. An IFS report from 2022 found that mental health absences were strongly correlated to leaving the NHS within three months: 27% more likely for midwives and 58% for consultants.
Real earnings have been slipping.
A longer-term shift in real earnings can also explain the staff pressures. In real wage terms, i.e. stripping out inflation, NHS consultants earn 15% less than they did in 2010. This is closely followed by doctors in training and midwives at -14%.
When comparing average weekly pay, low-paid NHS jobs are looking increasingly unattractive compared to other sectors. Switchboard operators, assembly line workers, and retail warehouse workers have all seen average weekly pay increases of 20-80% since 2011. By comparison, NHS roles including medical secretaries, nursing assistants, and care workers have seen real pay flatline or decline moderately.
This has been exacerbated by private sector employers also raising wages to combat their own labour shortages. GPs are also seeing real wage declines, with average weekly pay going from £980 in 2021 to £871 in 2022 (compared to £980 to £946 for railway assistants).
International recruitment is changing.
Nuffield Health has written about the changing landscape for doctors and nurses following Brexit. The UK recruited 27k fewer European nurses in the last four years than it did prior to the 2016 Brexit referendum. Recruitment of nurses from areas outside the EEA increased by 53k, making up the difference.
There are however backwash effects from existing European and International medical professionals moving away from the UK.
Interestingly, the UK has produced more medical graduates than the average OECD country for more than two decades. But there’s a ‘leaky pipe’ where career progression, pay, and working conditions make it difficult to retain staff.
3 Key Charts 📊
1. Intention into action: ESG does sell
2. UK childcare costs have seen high inflation compared to peers
3. US health has seen strongest price increase since 2000s
Deal Capture 💰
Deals in the impact space across the UK and Europe
Climate SaaS company CarbonCloud raised a €4m Series A. Co-led by Curp Capital and Peak.
Carbon mapping startup Carbon Maps raised €4m in a pre-seed. Involved Breega and Samaipata.
Climate insurtech company Kita raised a £4m round. Led by Octopus Ventures.
Precision fermentation startup Paleo raised €12m in a Series A. Led by DSM Venturing and Planet A Ventures.
Waste data analytics company Topolytics raised a £1.5m round.
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