The psychosocial impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on NHS affiliated staff – monitoring response to the pandemic and the evaluation of local and national staff support programmes
Why the research is needed?
The UK government has stated that a main aim of their policy is to enable the NHS to manage the Covid-19 pandemic. The leading NHS reason for staff being absent or unable to cope with their job is their mental health and well-being. We will collect data that will help local Trusts and the national NHS understand how their staff are coping with the pandemic and to make better decisions how to help them.
What is already known about the subject?
Data from earlier pandemics show that health care workers who have had to deal with serious infection during pandemics in the past (SARS, MERS, Ebola, swine flu) are at increased risk of both current and subsequent mental health problems. These problems are thought to be related to burnout and struggling to make clinical decisions. Staff from Black and Minority Ethnic origin are at increased risk of death from Covid-19 and this may be reflected in increased rates of common mental disorder.
Who we are working with?
We are working with NHS staff working on the frontline or support role in acute and mental health hospitals in 5 regions of the country. The national ARC mental health collaboration has decided to support this study, which was developed at King’s Health partners in London. We aim to recruit from NHS Trusts employing 120,000 staff.
How are patients and the public involved?
Primarily NHS staff themselves have helped the study team ask the questions in the study and design the methods. However, the public has been highly supportive of the study.
What we will do?
We will conduct an electronic survey to all staff working in supporting East Midlands NHS organisations. This will be done on 4 occasions; baseline, 3 months, 12 months and 18 months later. We will also conduct a small number of interviews with staff members. We will provide a report to each trust on what we find and a report on what we find overall to the national NHS.
The NHS Check website can be accessed here: https://www.nhscheck.org/
What the benefits will be?
Local NHS organisations, their staff and the national NHS will have data on the mental health and well-being of their staff to inform their decisions on how to support their staff who in turn will look after patients.
When the findings will be available?
Trusts will have data after each survey so that the mental health and well-being of their staff can be considered immediately while the pandemic is ongoing. Final overall results will be available in 2 years.
How we are planning for implementation?
By giving large scale data of this sort, we are hoping that the findings will be implemented as we go along since the pandemic is not yet over.
Richard Morriss, Richard.Morriss@nottingham.ac.uk