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NHS staff witnessing ‘near misses’ that could have hurt patients

The RCP has responded to the NHS staff survey in England.   

In response to the survey, Dr Sarah Clarke, president of the Royal College of Physicians, said: “While it’s promising to see that the majority of NHS staff (66.9%) continue to feel enthusiastic about their job, today’s statistics paint a bleak picture of the extreme pressures staff are under, and the direct impact this could potentially be having on patients.  

“Only about a quarter of those taking part in the survey (26.4%) believe there are enough staff in their organisation for them to do their job properly. In turn, a third (33.5%) reported having seen errors, near misses or incidents in the last month that could have hurt staff and/or patients/service users. As a result, over the past year almost half have felt unwell due to stress, a third feel burnt out and the same proportion often think about leaving their job. 

"That staff are managing, despite all the pressures upon them, to deal with the NHS backlog and reduce waits for patients is testament to their commitment. The government must repay that dedication by doing all it can to look after and grow our workforce - continuing to put staff and patients under this amount of pressure is simply unsustainable.  

“If the government is serious about resolving these issues, it needs to publish the promised long-term workforce plan in full, including numbers of staff needed to meet demand, and commit to deliver the funding needed to underpin it. The plan must include an expansion of medical school places to increase the number of doctors.”