Two in five NHS staff say patient care has declined during pandemic

Connor IbbetsonData Journalist
Eir NolsoeData Journalist
February 16, 2021, 2:10 PM UTC

Nine in ten healthcare workers are worried about the impact on non-COVID patients with conditions such as cancer

New YouGov research shows that two in five NHS workers (40%) say the quality of patient care in their workplace has fallen compared to before the COVID-19 pandemic. This includes some 10% who say patient care quality is now “much lower” than normal.

Another 42% of NHS staff say the quality of their workplace’s care hasn’t changed, and 4% say it has improved.

However, among private sector healthcare workers, the majority (60%) say the quality of care where they work has not changed, with only 20% of those working in private healthcare saying their quality of care has fallen during the pandemic.

Healthcare workers report not having enough time with each patient

The research also shows the time constraints patient-facing healthcare workers in the NHS and the private sector are facing. Just over a third of staff who care for patients with chronic or long-term health conditions say they either have “much less” (17%) or “somewhat less” (19%) time than necessary to give each patient the attention they need. A small minority (9%) say they have more time than required.

The figures are similar for coronavirus patients. One in three staff working with these say they have much (14%) or somewhat (21%) less time than necessary, while 12% say they have more than enough.

Staff caring for people with acute or short-term health problems report similar constraints, with 13% saying they have much less time than needed, while a fifth (22%) are somewhat short. One in ten (10%) have more time than they need.

Staff are worried about the impact on non-COVID patients

Most healthcare workers are either very (48%) or somewhat (44%) fearful for how the pandemic is affecting patients suffering from other conditions than coronavirus such as cancer.

Among those working for the NHS, nearly all staff (91%) say normal services continue to suffer from some level of disruption due to the pandemic.

One in eleven (9%) say that they are not running at all, and another 48% of staff say their normal functions are heavily disrupted. Only 3% of NHS staff say their normal services are no longer affected, and 4% say their services were never disrupted by the pandemic.

Learn more about YouGov healthcare professional research here

See full results here