Guidance: Annual leave and self isolation

New updated joint guidance from NHS employers and unions aims at protecting staff from excessive working and burnout.

Published: 04 January 2022 SoR

The SoR welcomes the new updated joint guidance from NHS employers and unions aimed at protecting staff from excessive working and burnout, which should be applied across England and the devolved nations.

The guidance warns against employers being tempted to cancel leave to meet pressures on staffing caused by high illness levels and the extra demand arising from the vaccination push. The second set of guidance re-enforces and updates guidance to protect those who need to self-isolate. To read the guidance, please see below: 

SoR Executive Director of Industrial Strategy and Member Relations Dean Rogers said, “These are two important and timely updates. The pressure on NHS staff has never been greater and poor employers could be tempted to push too far. This would be counter-productive. Many staff are close to burning out and are utterly exhausted. They need rest and recuperation and self-isolation is more important than ever.

If demand and services have to be limited in the short term that is the reality and the only safe and sensible choice for Trusts and Boards. Taking staff beyond what is safe and credible will have devastating additional longer term consequences for staffing levels and patients.”

Dean also stressed that staff feeling under pressure to work beyond what they can safely cope with should not be afraid to say no and stop. “Our members have proven time and time again over the last 2 years their total commitment to patients. However, protecting patients starts with protecting yourselves and stopping when you need to. It is always ok to say no.”