Responding to the results of the 2022 NHS Staff Survey Helen Walker, Chief Executive of Carers UK and NHS Assembly Member, said:
“It’s no surprise that the proportion of NHS workers juggling their jobs with an unpaid caring role for an older, disabled or seriously ill relative or friend remains high, with the latest survey’s findings showing nearly one in three (31%) NHS employees have unpaid caring responsibilities.
“Given the large swathe of unpaid carers working in the NHS – which employs more than 1.2 million people – it is vital that our health service leads by example and does what it can to support this segment of the workforce. Identifying carers is a crucial first step, but it is also essential that they are well supported with managing their work and caring responsibilities and remain in work.
“The introduction of a statutory right for carers to a week of unpaid leave, currently progressing through the House of Lords via the Carer’s Leave Bill, will be an important step forward in helping carers in the NHS manage the pressures of juggling two demanding roles.
We encourage NHS bodies to go above and beyond the statutory requirements and ensure that carers are welcomed, listened to and supported at work. With recruitment and retention of staff critical for our national health service right now, supporting unpaid carers is vital to supporting NHS services as a whole. We would therefore like to see unpaid carers included as part of the NHS workforce plan, which is due to be published imminently.”