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NHS is at ‘breaking point’ – we need to act now

Kerry Ganly - Penguin PR

Action must be taken immediately to support our NHS who feel ‘exhausted, drained and undervalued’. That is according to top leadership expert Kul Mahay, who spent 30 years working for the police and now works with organisations to help develop cultures where people perform to their very best.

His words come after a study commissioned by the University Hospitals of Derby and Burton NHS Foundation Trust reportedly discovered how low morale and overall physical and mental exhaustion affected staff at the Trust’s Accident and Emergency Department.

The December 2021 Empowering Voices report, which involved 45 members of staff including 14 consultants and doctors, was seen by the Local Democracy Reporting Service and details – which included how staff had been instructed to ‘cry privately’ rather than in front of patients as they struggle to deal with burnout – were reported in local media.

Other hospitals have reported similar pressures and Kul, from Derby, said: “We all clapped for NHS and key workers during the coronavirus pandemic, but it is now, as hospital wards are full to capacity and there is a massive backlog of appointments, that they need our support.

“It’s not just in hospitals; dental practices are struggling too. GP surgeries are feeling under pressure. They need empathic leadership to help combat low morale, sickness and burnout which, ultimately, poses a risk to patient care.

“People are exhausted, frustrated and sad in healthcare. They are going off sick in droves. I’ve been working with a healthcare sector provider in the Midlands recently which employs 1,400 people. They recognise that, over the last two years, healthcare has been one of the biggest industries affected by the pandemic and that it is important to carry out an internal ‘health check’ on their own teams.

“Like so many other areas of the healthcare industry, this organisation is experiencing high levels of turnover and abstractions and trying to an ever-competitive pool of potential recruits.  It is not alone. I am helping many to explore the type of leadership and culture that is much-needed in this post-covid world.”

Kul, who specialises in emotional intelligence and creating healthy cultures, feels that, whilst healthcare staff are probably the most affected, other public sector organisations are also experiencing high levels of stress, burn out and turnover from their staff.

He recently spoke to the CEO of the UK College of Policing, Chief Constable Andy Marsh, for his podcast called ‘Human Centred Leadership,’ and there was a clear acceptance that the police service is living through unprecedented times, with multiple challenges experienced over the past two years.

“Often we think of public sector investment as an increase of resources and staff and, to a large extent, that is true,” added Kul.

“However, unless we also invest in the cultures of our great public sector institutions and help them to become organisations that people aspire to be a part of, we will always struggle to deliver the highest quality of service that we can.”

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