One in three NHS workers would not recommend a career in healthcare

Christien PhebyContent Manager
March 05, 2021, 5:47 PM GMT+0

55% say Brexit will make it harder to recruit people into the profession – and 36% say the same of COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic has prompted some Brits to reconsider a career in healthcare – in both a positive and a negative sense. Coronavirus has introduced new pressures to a profession where stress and burnout were already common, but the crisis has also motivated people to join the NHS in an effort to help out.

YouGov's Healthcare Professionals Survey indicates that, if you ask medical workers whether they would currently recommend working in the sector, most agree that they would. Over half of NHS staff (56%) and nearly three in five private sector staff (58%) say they would advise a friend or family member to pursue a career in the profession.

But a significant minority are less positive. One in three NHS workers would not currently recommend a career in healthcare (34%), while a quarter of private sector staff say the same (27%). There is evidence that this problem affects some groups more than others.

Nearly half of all registered nurses and midwives (public and private), for example, say they would not endorse the choice to work in healthcare (47%). Recent YouGov research showed that over a third of healthcare workers with COVID-19, long-term, or acute patients did not have enough time to care for them properly.

Along gender lines, men are more likely to recommend working in healthcare than women. Over three in five male staff said they would advise a friend or family to pursue the vocation (63%) compared to just over half (54%) of women.

Three in five NHS workers think Brexit will make it harder to recruit people into the healthcare profession

Outside their individual perspective, healthcare workers don’t necessarily think COVID-19 is going to renew interest in joining the sector. While one in five believe it will help (21%), over a third of NHS workers believe it will make recruitment more difficult (36%) – while a quarter think it will make no difference either way (25%). Private sector workers are of a broadly similar view: 34% believe it will become harder to staff up; 34% say it will make no difference; 17% say it will make things easier.

With Brexit, the story is even less optimistic. The UK’s departure from the European Union has raised concerns that the country’s new immigration policy will make it harder to fill vacancies in areas such as social care. Whatever the reason, three in five NHS workers (60%) think Brexit will complicate recruitment – with over a third saying it will make staffing “much harder” (35%) – and just 5% say it will make it easier.

The private sector is less cynical about the prospects of staffing up, but respondents are still more negative than positive (44% harder; 31% no difference; 6% easier).

See the full results here

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