NHS Director Fife admits staff ‘absolutely exhausted’ and ‘broken’
NHS FIFE staff are “absolutely exhausted” and “broken” due to the pandemic and there is a long winter ahead, a health official has warned.
An increase in Covid cases in recent months has resulted in more patients needing treatment while demand for other services has also exploded.
Wilma Brown, director of NHS Fife employees, said the situation was “unsustainable” and called on the above people to act.
She said: “I work alongside these people and they are absolutely exhausted, just broken.
“We can’t go on like this indefinitely.
“At A&E, absences are increasing.
“It is important that we do everything possible to release this pressure.”
Ms Brown continued: “Last year we stopped everything for Covid but this year we are still trying to manage the services.
“I know stopping everything is not the solution.
“I am also not saying that this falls within the power of NHS Fife.
“We are discussing this with the cabinet secretary and with health boards across Scotland.
“The staff don’t feel safe, we keep pushing and it’s not sustainable.”
An NHS Fife board meeting last Tuesday learned that staffing issues are multi-faceted with absences, vacancies and higher activity in the system, while further exacerbating pressures on the workforce. of work.
The latest sick leave figures reached 6.17% in June, against 5.31% in May and more than 1% more than in June 2020, when it was 4.98%.
A higher percentage relates to long-term sickness absences and NHS Fife focuses on helping staff return to work.
Staff have also been moved to other services that need support, such as the immunization program.
Board Medical Director Dr Chris McKenna said: “Hospital safety changes from moment to moment, from change to change, and it is nothing like what we have dealt with before.
“The pressures can be quite strong at times, but even though the staff are tired they are the best people I know and they are up to the challenge.
“It’s difficult, it’s not what we expected, it’s become very chronic, but we know we’re doing our best despite it.”
The impact on staff has worsened over the past month and workers have been encouraged to take annual leave to support their own resilience, health and well-being.
Executive Director Carol Potter said: “I look forward to an open and frank conversation.
“There is relentless pressure on the workforce and I know its impact on the ability to cope with the backs of the past 18 months.
“I speak with the staff on a daily basis and there are long discussions about this.
“There is a commitment from directors and managers that we are listening to staff very quickly and closely.
“We are doing everything we can to address the concerns and challenges we face.
“We try to maintain staffing levels in the zones, but making sure our staff feel supported is of the highest priority.
“But I know it’s difficult and some of the staff don’t feel it.”
A report says steps are being taken to review workforce levels and explore any suggestions and opportunities to address challenges.
The equivalent of 150 full-time nurses were recruited from a pool of new graduates and were appointed to higher paying positions.
The new recruits are expected to start in the coming weeks.
NHS Fife Director of Nursing Janette Owens said: “We don’t want them to be bunnies in the headlights so they are going where their last placement was so they can get up to speed.”