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Thursday 08 June 2023

NHS staff 'desperate' for more managers to free up time to treat patients

By MiP

New research by think tank IPPR highlights the consequences of undermanagement in the NHS and calls for more managers to keep doctors and nurses on the frontline treating patients.

Clinical NHS staff have called for more NHS managers to be recruited to help the administrative burden they face at work, IPPR research has found. The think tank arranged an assembly made up of clinical NHS staff including doctors, nurses, pharmacists and midwives who said the lack of managers in the NHS is preventing them from treating patients as they’re forced to spend a significant proportion of their working time dealing with management tasks.

The findings from the assembly comes with further research from IPPR which found there are '10,000 missing managers' in hospitals and community settings since 2010.

IPPR’s report, Finding Hope, has found that demand for NHS services has increased substantially since 2010 and far exceeds the rate of additional staff joining the NHS workforce. While the number of people working in the NHS has increased by just over 1 per cent on average per year between 2010 and 2019, the number of managers has relatively decreased.

As part of a 10 point plan to solve the NHS workforce crisis, the assembly of healthcare professionals called the government to ‘recruit more and better managers to increase capacity’.

IPPR’s Chris Thomas, the author of the report, said:

“The NHS is facing a triple threat of soaring demand, staff sickness and low pay, and NHS staff are crying out for a long-term solution, and less short-term politics. 

“There is no one quick fix to solving the healthcare workforce crisis, but more managers are crucial to freeing up the time of doctors, nurses and other professionals to do the caring.”

Jon Restell, chief executive of MiP said:

“Despite the government's politically charged and disrespectful rhetoric, NHS managers do their job to keep clinical colleagues on the frontline, treating patients and away from paperwork.

“But with such a slim management resource, many patient facing staff are being taken away from their clinical duties to fill the gap left by undermanagement. This is counter-productive and undermines efforts to bring down the backlog and get the NHS back to where it should be, delivering high quality, timely care to those who need it.

“With evidence like this, ministers should stop portraying managers as the enemy and begin to engage in sensible discussions about the strong link between management and clinical capacity, and how the numbers of managers and the role they play in the NHS, support good patient care.

"The long-awaited workforce plan provides the perfect opportunity to do just that."

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