Leicester expert informs report into NHS and care workforce crisis

Research from the University of Leicester has informed a high-profile government report on staff recruitment, training and retention rates in health and social care.

MPs from the Health and Social Care Committee concluded that the National Health Service and social care sector is facing the greatest workforce crisis in its history.

Dr Wen Wang, Associate Professor in Human Resource Management, Data Analytics, and Interpretation at the University of Leicester, was asked to provide evidence to the committee in March.

According to the report that was released on 25 July, the NHS in England has a shortage of 12,000 hospital doctors and more than 50,000 nurses and midwives. As of September 2021, the NHS had 99,460 vacant posts.

Meanwhile, a record 6.5 million people in the UK were on a waiting list for hospital treatment in April 2022.

The Health and Social Care Committee has determined that an extra 475,000 jobs are needed in health by the early part of the next decade.

Dr Wang presented the findings of two studies looking at bullying and discrimination in the NHS.

The study analysed 220 NHS trusts in England as well as anonymous feedback received on recruitment sites such as Indeed and Glassdoor that was conducted alongside colleagues from Keele University and the University of Wolverhampton.

The research showed that health workers who from ethnically diverse backgrunds, showed an overall 48% higher ‘intention to resign sentiment’ than other groups included in the study.

Dr Wang found that internal discrimination from managers or colleagues added to discrimination from the public and was a significant cause of ‘burnout’ amongst these groups.

Dr Wang said: “The internal discrimination correlated with burnout and intention to resign amongst people from ethnically diverse backgrounds.

“Because of the discrimination they face, they do not feel that they can go to other places and have a better position and also they tend to occupy the lower occupational groups.

“And so they do not move and they become a captured worker which is very sad if we think about health inequality so I hope that I can get the paper out and raise awareness.

“A lot of workers from ethnically diverse backgrounds we have attracted are from overseas and we do not want them to leave.”

Dr Wang hopes to be able to conduct further research on the dropout rate of junior doctors within the NHS.

Reacting to the attention that the Health and Social Care Committee’s report has received since it was published on Monday, Dr Wang said: “I am glad that the Government has realised that there is an issue and I hope that there will be real action towards helping health workers.

“I feel that I was picked by the committee because other research only offers qualitative analysis. We analysed half a million responses and it has created a bigger picture that can be grasped to create better policy.”