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UK Healthcare Workers Would Not Join Workforce if They Had the Choice Again

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A global survey has found that a lack of focus on mental health support and mounting pressure on resources means that healthcare workers in the UK would be the least likely to embark on the same career path if they had to join their profession again.

Having borne the brunt of the impact of the Covid pandemic from a healthcare perspective, only 35% of practitioners in the UK would still train as healthcare professionals if joining the industry now, as opposed to 90% in India, 85 % in Nigeria, and 76 % in Saudi Arabia.

The study by YouGov, on behalf of the World Innovation Summit for Health (WISH), revealed that 59 % of healthcare workers in the UK said that a higher workload had been one of the most significant changes they have experienced since the beginning of the Covid pandemic. 

This indicates one of the factors contributing to a lack of motivation for healthcare practitioners, with others linked to the UK ranking lowest globally when considering trends they predicted to be prevalent in their industry over the next five years.

  • Only 17% thought that increased investment into research and development would be a trend, compared with those in India (60%), Nigeria (57%), Saudi Arabia (38%), Brazil (33%), and the US (25%).
  • Only a quarter (25%) highlighted the education and training of junior members of the team, compared with peers in Nigeria (57%), India (53%), and Saudi Arabia (46%).
  • 41% saw attention on mental health and diagnosis as a developing trend; less than peers in India (59%), Brazil (54%), and Saudi Arabia (52%).

In addition, 70% – the highest number recorded – thought that pressure on resources in the industry would remain a trend in the coming years. This was much higher than their colleagues in Brazil (27%), Nigeria (28%), India (31%), Saudi Arabia (38%) and the US (57%).

‘These findings point to the frailty of the UK’s health system and demand urgent corrective action through increased investment in workforce training and development, as well as a sharpened focus on mental health support and advocacy to ensure staff retention.’

‘The challenges highlighted mean that governments, policymakers, and industry leaders still have a lot to learn from the lessons of the ongoing pandemic.’

‘Therefore, we urge them to accelerate efforts to address the concerns of healthcare practitioners and develop effective mechanisms to tackle the issues that negatively impact the national health system’s ability to keep communities protected against future health emergencies,’ said Sultana Afdhal, CEO of WISH.

The survey, which included healthcare professionals from the UK, US, Saudi Arabia, Nigeria, India, and Brazil, aimed to gain insights into the impacts of dealing with Covid on healthcare workers’ lives, shine a light on their experiences, as well as explore what the future of healthcare might look like according to those serving on the frontline of care delivery.

WISH, a health initiative of the Qatar Foundation is a global platform that gathers healthcare experts, policymakers, and innovators to unite to build a healthier world. The biennial WISH Summit, taking place 4th6th of October in Doha, Qatar and virtually, aims to showcase WISH’s evidence-based research and discuss how to translate these findings into practical, policy-driven solutions that help transform global healthcare delivery.

The sixth edition of the summit will run under the banner of ‘Healing the Future’. The summit will thoroughly explore the legacy of Covid from various perspectives, including how to build more resilient and sustainable healthcare systems, improve our response to the mental health crisis faced by health and care workers, and harness the rapid progress in pharmaceutical innovation that has taken place during the pandemic.

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