Intended for healthcare professionals


Parliamentary report on workforce burnout and resilience

BMJ 2021; 373 doi: (Published 25 June 2021) Cite this as: BMJ 2021;373:n1603
  1. Suzie Bailey, director of leadership and organisational development
  1. King’s Fund, London, UK
  1. S.Bailey{at}

Current workforce plans are a smart looking car minus the engine

In July 2020 the House of Commons Health and Social Care Committee started an inquiry on workforce burnout and resilience in the NHS and social care. The committee received over 100 written submissions, held oral evidence sessions, and conducted anonymous in-depth interviews with staff. The report was published on 8 June 2021 and found evidence that “burnout is a widespread reality in today’s NHS.”

Although many of the findings may be of little surprise to people working in the system, it raises important concerns about the health and wellbeing of the workforce.1 Commenting on the report, the committee’s chair, Jeremy Hunt, described workforce burnout as “an extraordinarily dangerous risk to the future functioning of both services.”

In declaring burnout widespread even before the pandemic, the report makes an important distinction, given that the past 15 months could be viewed as special cause. It calls out the lack of robust workforce planning and recommends that chronic excessive workloads …

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