Poll: 35 Percent of Healthcare Consumers Say They Have Noticed Staffing Shortages

March 14, 2023
A poll from HealthDay/HarrisPoll found that more than one third of individuals surveyed noticed or had been affected by healthcare staffing shortages—up from 25 percent from November 2022

On March 10, HealthDay/Harris Poll published the results of a poll on how Americans are feeling the effects of the healthcare staffing crisis in the U.S. The poll was conducted between Feb. 16-21, 2023, among 2,048 adults 18 years of age and older. The poll says that more people are noticing the staff shortages in U.S. healthcare facilities.

An article on the results says that “More than a third (35 percent) of people noticed or had been affected by healthcare staffing shortages at the time of the February poll, up from 25 percent last November,"  noted Kathy Steinberg, vice president of media and communications research at the Harris Poll.

"‘Quite concerningly, the data reveal an even more pronounced impact on women, who are more likely than men to have experienced shortages in healthcare now [41 percent vs. 28 percent], and also more likely to have noticed such shortages now than just a few months ago [41 percent in February vs. 31 percent in November],’ Steinberg added,” the article notes.

Other notable results include:

  • More than 4 out of 5 adults in the U.S. (84 percent) have attempted to receive healthcare in the past six months
    • Almost 3 in 4 of (73 percent) of those experienced delays or challenges in receiving care
  • More than half (52 percent) of those polled say they are concerned they won’t be able to receive needed medical care due to staffing shortages

Compared to other industries that are experiencing staff shortages, 24 percent of respondents had been affected by staffing shortages in education, up from 17 percent in November. Retail has had the greatest staffing issues, 36 percent of consumers polled noticed or have been affected by not enough workers in February. That number didn’t move much from November, 35 percent said they had seen staffing problems in retail stores.

"Navigating workforce pressures were a challenge for hospitals and health systems even before the COVID-19 pandemic, but these challenges have been exacerbated as many hospitals and health systems continue to face significant financial constraints, including higher expenses for labor, supplies, equipment and drugs," The American Hospital Association (AHA) said in a statement quoted in the article.

"In addition, hospitals are increasingly paying higher wages to keep and recruit enough staff while other staff leave the healthcare field due to burnout and retirement," the association added.

"The hospital workforce plays a critical role in treating patients and saving lives each and every day, and the AHA is supporting hospitals and health systems in their efforts to ensure the healthcare workforce remains strong and ready to care by expanding training options, recruiting internationally, launching nurse education programs, reimagining workforce models, investing in up-skilling and providing nontraditional support for healthcare workers," the statement noted.

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