The results of a recent survey among NHS trusts reveal stark evidence of how low morale has sunk
Six out of every 10 NHS staff say they are unable to cope with work-related stress and more than half feel that morale is not good, research has shown.
The survey by NHS trusts of 80,000 NHS staff in England has been published by the Liberal Democrats.
According to Paul Burstow, Liberal Democrat health spokesman, the findings showed NHS workers were "stressed out and overworked". The survey found that 64 per cent of staff felt unable to cope with work-related stress, and 51 per cent said they did not feel morale was good within their trust, while 37 per cent did not feel adequately protected from abuse or attack while at work.
And 31 per cent did not believe they had sufficient training to do their job adequately.
"These surveys are a snapshot of the views of NHS staff; they will not make pleasant reading for ministers. The results are stark evidence of how low morale has sunk is in the NHS," said Mr Burstow.
Occupational health nurses need to be at the centre of tackling the problem of stress in the NHS, argued Dr Amanda Kirby, a GP and expert panel member of Neurolink, an independent body specialising in studying mental health problems.
Particular problems faced by NHS workers that could exacerbate stress included the fact that recruitment of medical staff at all levels is an issue.
NHS staff also often complained of feeling unappreciated or unable to control their working environment, particularly when changes - often politically led - were being implemented, she added.
OH departments could help the situation by ensuring there was a "cascade" of information, advice and education right the way through the system, tackling symptoms, causes and possible solutions to stress, she added.
A seminar on dealing with conflicts in healthcare is being held in Manchester on 20 June and 10 July in London. It will look at tackling stress in the NHS, which, it says can often be the result of dealing with difficult colleagues not difficult patients.