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UK Health workers say “Never Again”

Survey reveals UK healthcare workers far less likely than global counterparts to enter industry if starting their careers now 


In global study by WISH, UK healthcare practitioners also most doubtful of receiving mental health support in the future

Lack of focus on mental health support, along with a mounting pressure on resources mean 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 now, a global survey has found.

Having borne the brunt of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic from a healthcare perspective, only 35 percent of practitioners in the UK would still train as healthcare professionals if joining the industry now, as opposed to 90 percent in India, 85 percent in Nigeria, and 76 percent in Saudi Arabia.

The study by YouGov, on behalf of the World Innovation Summit for Health (WISH), revealed that 59 percent of healthcare workers in the UK said that a higher workload has been one of the biggest changes they have experienced since the beginning of the COVID-19 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 percent thought that an increased investment into research and development would be a trend, compared with those in India (60 percent), Nigeria (57 percent), Saudi Arabia (38 percent), Brazil (33 percent), and the US (25 percent)
  • Only a quarter (25 percent) highlighted education and training of junior members of the team, compared with peers in Nigeria (57 percent), India (53 percent), and Saudi Arabia (46 percent)
  • 41 percent saw attention on mental health and diagnosis as a developing trend; less than peers in India (59 percent), Brazil (54 percent), and Saudi Arabia (52 percent).

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

“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. We urge them to accelerate efforts to address the concerns of healthcare practitioners and develop effective mechanisms to tackle the issues that are negatively impacting 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-19 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.


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