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Nearly 170,000 healthcare professionals have left their jobs in England last year, the Observer reports

The exodus of NHS England workers last year has been the highest in at least a decade, the Observer reported on Saturday, citing its analysis of workplace statistics collected since 2010. 

Nearly 170,000 employees, including more than 41,000 nurses, quit their jobs in hospitals and community health services in 2022, compared to almost 150,000 the previous year.

The exodus encompasses all professions, from doctors and ambulance staff to managers and technical staff, the Observer said.

The healthcare industry, which is still recovering from the Covid-19 pandemic, has been hemorrhaging workers for some time, with some citing “workplace pressures,” burnout, difficult work environment, and having to deal with general shortages as reasons to leave. 

Largest healthcare strike in UK history begins

The UK’s healthcare service has been in decline for over a decade with the government constraining the NHS budget in 2010. According to the British Medical Association (BMA), currently there are 7.42 million people waiting for a treatment, including over 372,000 patients waiting for over a year. The backlogs will likely result in worsened conditions down the line, leading to greater demand on health services.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak recently unveiled a £2.4 billion ($3 billion) plan to tackle the NHS staffing crisis, which includes the increase of university places for medical students and new apprenticeship programs. According to authorities, some progress was made as waiting lists have gradually become shorter in certain areas.

“There is still much work to be done but these are remarkable achievements given all the NHS has had to contend with,” NHS England Chief Executive Amanda Pritchard said in May.

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