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Found 77 results
  1. News Article
    "I still have nightmares most nights about being completely out of my depth." Gemma, a ward nurse in Northern Ireland, was redeployed to a critical care unit at the end of March when the first wave of coronavirus struck. "I had never looked after a critically ill intensive care patient in my life," she says. "I just thought, I'm coming in here and I'm going to die. I'm going to catch Covid and I'm going to be one of those patients in the beds." As the second wave of the pandemic takes deep root across parts of the UK, thousands of NHS workers are struggling to recover from what they have already been through. "We were all in PPE all the time," recalls Nathan, a senior intensive care nurse at a hospital in the Midlands. "All you can see is people's eyes, you can't see anything else." He describes trying to help junior members of staff survive long and difficult days. "And I'd see these eyes as big as saucers saying help me, do something. Make this right. Fix this." "The pressure was insane, and the anxiety just got me," he says. "I couldn't sleep, and I couldn't eat, I was sick before work, I was shaking before I got into my car in the morning." Nathan ended up having time off with severe anxiety, but he is now back at the hospital, waiting for the beds to fill up again. The BBC has spoken to a number of nurses and doctors across the UK who are deeply apprehensive about what lies ahead this winter. Read full story Source: BBC News, 24 October 2020
  2. News Article
    Many unpaid carers looking after vulnerable friends or relatives during the coronavirus crisis say they are worried about how they will cope this winter. Almost 6,000 unpaid carers completed a Carers UK online questionnaire. Eight in 10 said they had been doing more, with fewer breaks, since the pandemic began - and three-quarters said they were exhausted. The government said it recognised the "vital role" of unpaid carers. In the Carers UK survey, 58% of carers said they had seen their physical health affected by caring through the pandemic, while 64% said their mental health had worsened. People also said day centres and reductions in other services meant the help they once got had reduced or disappeared, leaving many feeling worn out and isolated. Carers UK wants such services up and running again as a matter of urgency. Helen Walker, chief executive of Carers UK, said: "The majority of carers have only known worry and exhaustion throughout this pandemic. "They continue to provide extraordinary hours of care, without the usual help from family and friends, and with limited or no support from local services." "It's no surprise that carers' physical and mental health is suffering, badly. I am deeply concerned that so many carers are on the brink and desperately worried about how they will manage during the next wave of the pandemic." Read full story Source: BBC News, 20 October 2020
  3. News Article
    Doctors and nurses in areas of northern England with some of the highest Covid infection rates have described being “physically and emotionally” exhausted, as the NHS braces itself for the second wave of the pandemic. Most of the north has been put into the tier 2 “high risk” category, with Merseyside in the highest – tier 3 – bracket. While politicians debate whether a nationwide circuit breaker would be a more effective instrument to curb spread of the virus, frontline staff – still scarred from the first wave – are under no illusions as to what lies in store. Carmel O’Boyle, a nurse in Liverpool, who is also chair of the Royal College of Nursing’s Greater Liverpool and Knowsley branch, said members of the public had used A&E and primary care sparingly during the first national lockdown but mixed messages and a lack of trust in the government had led to people throwing caution to the wind and attendances were rising accordingly. “The nurses across my branch are frightened and exhausted – physically and emotionally,” she said. “They’ve been dealing with this for months and now there are more people in hospitals than there were in March. Although we know a little bit more about how to treat people and the kind of path of the disease process, it’s still frightening. It’s just so demanding and so draining to be nursing people in this manner without any family involvement and with the complications that there are.” A consultant in Manchester, who did not want to be named, said her hospital coped with the first wave but “the difference this time is that we’re trying to continue all of the elective activity and that’s going to be challenging. “I do think that we will manage the Covid cases. I just now worry about whether we will be able to continue to keep the normal care for people who need their operations [and] need care for cancer." Read full story Source: The Guardian, 15 October 2020
  4. News Article
    Gruelling 12-hour shifts, exhaustion and burnout are leading growing numbers of nurses to quit the NHS within three years of joining, new research reveals. Stress, lack of access to food and drink while at work, and the relentless demands of caring for patients are also key factors in the exodus, the King’s Fund thinktank found. The NHS must make it an urgent priority to tackle the worryingly poor working conditions nurses and midwives face in many hospitals or face worsening workforce shortages, it said. “Staff stress, absenteeism and turnover in the professions have reached alarmingly high levels,” the thinktank said after investigating the working conditions faced by NHS nurses and midwives. “This has been compounded by the Covid-19 pandemic, which has laid bare and exacerbated longer-term issues including chronic excessive workload, inadequate working conditions, staff burnout and inequalities, particularly among minority ethnic groups.” Read full story Source: 23 September 2020
  5. News Article
    In April, when the coronavirus outbreak was at its peak in the UK and tearing through hospitals, junior doctor Rebecca Thornton’s mental health took a turn for the worse and she ended up having to be sectioned. Even now, three months later, she cannot face going back to her job and thinks it will take her a year to recover from some of the horrors she saw while working on a Covid ward in a deprived area of London. “It was horrendous,” Thornton recalls. “It’s so harrowing to watch people die, day in, day out. Every time someone passed away, I’d say, ‘This is my fault’. Eventually I stopped eating and sleeping.” Thornton’s case may sound extreme but her experiences of working through Covid are far from unique. More than 1,000 doctors plan to quit the NHS over the government’s handling of the pandemic, according to a recent survey, with some citing burnout as a cause. A psychologist offering services to NHS staff throughout the UK, who asked to remain anonymous, has witnessed the toll on staff. “I’ve seen signs of PTSD in some healthcare workers,” she says. “Staff really stood up to the plate and worked incredibly hard. It was a crisis situation that moved very quickly ... After it subsided a little bit, the tiredness became very clear.” Roisin Fitzsimons, who is head of the Nightingale Academy, which provides a platform to share best practice in nursing and midwifery, and consultant nurse at Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS foundation trust, also worries about the looming threat of an uncertain future. “Are our staff prepared? Do they have the resilience to go through this again? That’s the worry and that’s the unknown. Burnout is hitting people now. People are processing and realising what they’ve gone through.” Read full story Source: The Guardian, 8 September 2020
  6. News Article
    Over 1,000 doctors plan to quit the NHS because they are disillusioned with the government’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic and frustrated about their pay, a new survey has found. The doctors either intend to move abroad, take a career break, switch to private hospitals or resign to work as locums instead, amid growing concern about mental health and stress levels in the profession. “NHS doctors have come out of this pandemic battered, bruised and burned out”, said Dr Samantha Batt-Rawden, president of the Doctors’ Association UK, which undertook the research. The large number of medics who say they will leave the NHS within three years is “a shocking indictment of the government’s failure to value our nation’s doctors,” she added. “These are dedicated professionals who have put their lives on the line time and time again to keep patients in the NHS safe, and we could be about to lose them.
  7. Content Article

    Faded rainbows

    Claire Cox
    When driving to work at the beginning of the pandemic, I felt a sense of worry and apprehension of what I would be faced with. As a critical care outreach nurse I never know what I may be faced with, but this has never bothered me. However, during the pandemic it did bother me. I worried how I could do my job; would I get sick and how would I navigate my way through the new ways of working? Seeing the brightly coloured rainbows in people’s windows gave me some hope. I knew that the public were thinking of us; they knew the risks we were putting ourselves at and our families. For a time, I felt special. It sounds pathetic, I know. For a time, I felt valued. Valued by the public, valued by the trust I work for and valued by politicians. As NHS staff we had priority shopping, we had discounts from big stores, we had free parking, we had donations of food every day while we were at work, we were donated hand creams and toiletries. School children drew us pictures to put on the walls of our staff room saying ”thank you”. What made me feel valued more than anything was staff wellbeing being at the forefront. Extra staff were redeployed to work on the ITU, we were made sure we had all our breaks and we were made to feel that each and every one of us counted. Relatives of patients wrote and expressed their gratitude, even if they were unable to visit their dying family – they were truly grateful to us. The ITU where I work received so many beautifully written letters and cards. We pinned every one onto the wall so we were reminded that we were shining bright despite the darkness. Then there was the Thursday clap. Personally, I thought this was an odd thing to do, but it seemed to bring people together and have a shared purpose – even if it was for a fleeting 5 minutes a week. When I think back at those months, it seems like a lifetime ago. Eve Mitchell’s recent blog on the hub highlighted that care homes are receiving complaint letters and some are even receiving threats of litigation. “Not enough PPE”, “lack of care given to my family member”, “my family member was neglected during the pandemic” – frustration and anger are palpable. Frustration and anger because families were unable to visit their relatives in their last days, frustration and anger that these precious moments have been denied from them. If it were my mum or dad would I feel the same? Of course I would. I would be the loudest voice there. Is it the fault of the care home? Should they be vilified for the protection of their residents? And now it’s the turn of the hospitals. We now have over a million people waiting on lists for operations, procedures, appointments. Some have already waited months before the pandemic started. Some have already died as a result of not having surgery at the right time. Patients have received surgery and treatment late and this has led to complications and a longer hospital stay – which then increases their mortality. At some point the gratitude from the public will turn to anger and frustration, as it has with the care homes. Would I be angry if my mum was waiting for an operation and died as a result of a prolonged wait? Yes I would. It is a natural response to blame the very people who should have helped – the NHS staff. I now drive to work and see faded rainbows in windows, I will be paying for parking again in the next few weeks, the donations of food have dried up, staff are back at ‘normal’ levels and I am back to having no breaks some days, not to mention that nurses were not included in the recent pay rise. I feel that we have served our purpose. ‘Thanks very much – now get back to normal, sort the waiting lists out and work harder to make sure it happens’. I don’t envy our senior leaders in acute Trusts. They are stuck in the middle of the Department of Health and Social Care and NHS England who are trying to fathom out a strategy to get the waiting lists down, and support frontline staff who are exhausted and a frustrated public that may erupt at any moment. Frontline workers have been through it the last few months. Navigating our way through complaints and litigation and an angry public who feel that they are not receiving the care that they expect in the coming months fills me with dread. We are not equipped. Faded rainbows – is this a representation of the fading support we are receiving in the NHS?
  8. News Article
    Women working in the NHS are suffering from serious stress and exhaustion in the wake of the coronavirus crisis, a troubling new report has found. Some 75% of NHS workers are women and the nursing sector is predominantly made up of women – with 9 out of 10 nurses in the UK being female. The report, conducted by the NHS Confederation’s Health and Care Women Leaders Network, warns the NHS is at risk of losing female staff due to them experiencing mental burnout during the global pandemic. Researchers, who polled more than 1,300 women working across health and care in England, found almost three quarters reported their job had a more damaging impact than usual on their emotional wellbeing due to the COVID-19 emergency. Read full story Source: The Independent, 25 August 2020
  9. News Article
    MPs have launched an inquiry examining workforce burnout across the NHS and social care, and the system’s ability to manage staff stress amid increased pressures during the COVID-19 pandemic. The House of Commons health and social care committee said it aims to produce a report showing the levels of staff needed in health and social care to tackle exhaustion and meet future challenges. The committee is calling for evidence on how workforce shortages impacted staff well-being and patient care during the pandemic and the areas that need to see recruitment most urgently. Read full story Source: Pulse, 3 August 2020
  10. Content Article
    Previous survey results BMA COVID-19 survey results - 9 July 2020 BMA COVID-19 survey results - 18 June 2020 BMA COVID-19 survey results - 28 May 2020 BMA COVID-19 survey results - 14 May 2020 BMA COVID-19 survey results - 30 April 2020 BMA COVID-19 survey results - 16 April 2020 BMA COVID-19 survey results - 6 April 2020
  11. Content Article
    The full case studies document is free to download. Request a copy by completing the request form, after which you will receive a link to the document on screen and by email.
  12. Content Article
    It has now been over 70 days since lockdown. Yes, the restrictions are easing – and this is great news for people who have been isolated for so long, it is great for the economy – but we are waiting for the second wave. My last blog spoke about how we are going to get back to ‘normal work’ and my anxieties about how we were going to do this. Slowly, we have been trying to get back to some kind of normal, but it feels confusing, slow and uncertain. None of us can see the ‘end’. None of us knows what the ‘end’ will look like, when it will happen or will even know when it happens. Remembering the early days of lockdown, the streets were empty, the roads were quiet, there were huge queues for food, and everyone seemed scared. It was a little like the post-apocalyptic film '28 Days Later'. We have all had our highs and lows: the NHS clap every Thursday, rainbows in windows, connecting with family, being furloughed, has meant some people have enjoyed lockdown. The flip side is that for some it has been a living nightmare: money worries, domestic violence, child abuse, operations cancelled and bereavements. Unlike the film that lasts 113 minutes, has a set plot that it follows and ends up with them being rescued, we are still stuck 70 days plus in and there seems no hope of a rescue. Real life does not offer us closure, does not always have a happy ending and, unlike dramas on the BBC, life is not always fair. I’m not even sure we are in the middle, which makes me feel even more helpless. I have been nursing for over 20 years. I have loved working with patients; I have even loved working in the institution that is the NHS. The politics, the hierarchy, the culture, yes, it's difficult work trying to negotiate around obstacles and blockers, but we do it and, weirdly enough, enjoy it. But this pandemic is different. In all honesty, I can’t do this anymore. Work was hard enough, but now it’s even harder. Knowing how to care for patients safely in the right area, wearing PPE all day, not being able to communicate properly through the masks, and having procedure and policy changing weekly, sometimes daily, is wearing. I feel like a new starter every day, especially after days off. I’m tired of it and can’t see an end. Due to this lack of enthusiasm, I feel I am failing at giving the care I want to, failing to give patients the care they deserve. This feeling is horrible. What kind of a nurse are you if you have ‘run out of care’? I know this is burnout. I didn’t want it to be. But it is. In January, I didn’t feel like this. This burnout has been because of the pandemic. I am interested to find out why now? I can’t be burnt out from a few months of difficult working conditions, can I? While looking into this and trying to make sense of my feeling, I came across Kanter’s Law. Rosabeth Kanter is a Harvard Business School Professor and according to her “in the middle, everything looks like a failure". Everyone feels motivated by the beginnings and obviously we love happy endings, but it is in the middle where the hard work happens. She states that in the middle, we all have doubts. This feeling is principally produced because important changes are not developed the way we would like it to, lineal and smooth. The changes that remain usually involve two steps forward and one step back. This is evident when we are trying to get back to ‘business as usual’ but new cases of the virus are detected and we can’t proceed as we thought. In addition, it’s easy to feel that when we are in the middle we are very far away from the expectations we had made. Unexpected events take place as well as deviations. What it had been estimated in regard to the need of resources appear to not be enough. It is then when despondency appears. We can’t plan, we can’t mitigate risks effectively, which often leads us into failure. This is why it’s important to fully understand that failure is a necessary part of change, because there will be periods of confusion in which the temptation to abandon will be great. I’m at the abandon bit! This work is difficult. I am not in the position where I can make big changes in my Trust. I must trust that others are making good decisions and they will support us if things don’t go as expected. Call to action I can’t be the only person feeling this now. What are Trusts doing to guide staff through uncertainty, prevent burnout and inform staff of plans for the future?
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