The NHS should adopt a four-day working week to help deal with its staffing crisis, one of Britain’s top doctors has said.
Professor John Ashton says the model could help to address the burnout that is seeing health service staff quit or retire early.
“I think the four-day week will come over the next 10 years, and if the NHS doesn’t embrace it, the labour shortages will become even worse,” he told The Big Issue.
Ashton believes that a four-day week – without loss of pay – could “reduce sickness absence, improve morale which would improve the quality of what people are doing when they are working.”
“The NHS is a labour intensive, skill intensive organisation, which has 1.2 million employees but is 100,000 short. Then the million dollar question is; by being more flexible, can this make a difference?” he continued.
The former president of the UK Faculty of Public Health has long been an advocate for bringing the standard working week down from five to four days, saying that it would help to address mental ill-health associated with overwork and burnout, and lead to greater job satisfaction and higher productivity.