Documents to download

The COVID-19 pandemic has presented a number of challenges to the mental health and well-being of NHS staff. This group were more vulnerable to mental ill health than other occupational groups prior to the pandemic. However, it is unclear the extent to which the mental health of NHS staff has declined during the pandemic and the quality of the evidence is mixed. Further research is required to understand staff groups who may be particularly at risk and the longer-term impacts of the pandemic on NHS staff mental health. However, supporting the mental health and well-being of NHS staff during this time could maximise current and future NHS workforce capacity and performance. 

Key sources of support for staff: 

  • Adequate resourcing of workplaces to ensure safe working practices, for example sufficient staffing levels and provision of personal protective equipment. 
  • Occupational risk assessments supported by Occupational Health services. 
  • Preparing staff for the challenges ahead through timely and effective communication and training. 
  • Supportive teams in which staff are encouraged to raise concerns and there is active monitoring of staff well-being. 
  • Training for team leaders on how to discuss mental health with their staff and informal support for staff which is easy to access and confidential. These support packages have been provided by NHS England and NHS Improvement with similar initiatives in the devolved nations.  
  • For the limited number of staff requiring more intensive support, access to mental health services and psychological therapies may be required. In October 2020, NHS England and NHS Improvement announced an investment of £15 million to fund rapid mental health assessment and treatment for NHS staff.

Acknowledgements

POSTnotes are based on literature reviews and interviews with a range of stakeholders and are externally peer reviewed. POST would like to thank interviewees and peer reviewers for kindly giving up their time during the preparation of this briefing, including:

  • Dr Vaughan Bell, University College London
  • Dr Jo Billings, University College London 
  • Prof Roberta Bivins, University of Warwick
  • Dr Anne de Bono, Faculty of Occupational Medicine*
  • Dr Hannes De Kock, University of the Highlands and Islands and NHS Highland
  • Dr Mark Faghy, University of Derby
  • Dame Clare Gerada, NHS Practitioner Health*  
  • Dr James Gilleen, University of Roehampton*  
  • Prof Neil Greenberg, King’s College London*
  • Dr Adrian James, Royal College of Psychiatrists*
  • Tom King, British Dental Association
  • Dr Peter Kelly, Health and Safety Executive*
  • Alex Lloyd, Royal Holloway, University of London 
  • Dr Sally Marlow, King’s College London 
  • Members of the POST Board* 
  • Dr Andrew Molodynski, British Medical Association* 
  • Alison Morton, Institute of Health Visiting*
  • Nursing and Midwifery Council
  • Amanda Oates, Mersey Care NHS Foundation Trust*
  • Stephanie Phillips, NHS 24 
  • Dr Alex Pollock, Glasgow Caledonian University
  • Dr Melanie Rogers, University of Huddersfield* 
  • Royal College of Nursing
  • School of Psychology, University of Sunderland
  • Sophie-Odile Sauerteig, British Medical Association
  • Dr Jack Saunders, University of Warwick 
  • Dr Christopher SirrsUniversity of Warwick
  • Ravi Sharma, Royal Pharmaceutical Society*
  • Dr Sharon Stevelink, King’s College London 
  • Dr Geraldine Strathdee, Care Quality Commission and South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust*
  • Dr Rachel Sumner, University of Gloucestershire
  • Mr Chris Thomas, Institute for Public Policy Research
  • UK Research and Innovation*
  • Rob Vondy, Health and Safety Executive*  
  • Dr Sonya Wallbank, Association of Clinical Psychologists* 
  • Prof Sir Simon Wessely, King’s College London
  • Prof Richard Williams, University of South Wales 

*denotes people and organisations who acted as external reviewers of the briefing. 


Documents to download

Related posts

  • Invisible Disabilities in Education and Employment

    Disability occurs in many different forms. An invisible disability, or non-visible disability, is an impairment or health condition that is not immediately obvious. This POSTnote provides an overview of invisible disability in the UK. It outlines types of invisible disabilities and relevant legislation and policy. It also discusses the experiences of adults with invisible disabilities, and strategies aimed at increasing access and inclusion for adults with invisible disabilities, focusing on employment, and higher and further education.

    Invisible Disabilities in Education and Employment
  • Genome edited animals

    Genome editing, also known as gene editing, encompasses a broad range of techniques that allows targeted changes in the DNA of animals (and plants). The Genetic Technology (Precision Breeding) Bill 2022 -2023, due for Second Reading in the House of Lords on 21 November 2022, intends to change the regulatory definition of certain genome-edited animals. https://doi.org/10.58248/PB50

    Genome edited animals