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Louise Frampton

Technical Editor Kate Woodhead Business Manager

Dean Walford

Sales Executive Holly Goldring

Journal Administration

Katy Cockle

Design Steven Dillon Publisher

Geoff King

Publishing Director Trevor Moon

THE CLINICAL SERVICES JOURNAL is published in January, February, March, April, May, June, August, September, October and November by Step Communications Ltd, Step House, North Farm Road, Tunbridge Wells, Kent TN2 3DR, UK. Tel: +44 (0)1892 779999 Fax: +44 (0)1892 616177 Email: Web:

Supporting the wellbeing of staff

At the time of writing this, the latest NHS performance figures showed that 162,888 patients had waited longer than 52 weeks for routine hospital treatment, compared to just 1,321 for the same time last year. The figures highlight the pressures on hospital capacity, due to the impact of COVID-19. Responding to the monthly performance statistics, Tim Gardner, senior policy fellow at the Health Foundation, said: “Routine hospital services have been steadily returning to pre-pandemic levels, but the figures suggest this progress may have stalled in the face of the rise in patients hospitalised with COVID-19 during the second wave.” While the pressures on the system will inevitably have consequences for patients, they will also take their toll on staff. A second wave of the pandemic will be intensifying the pressures on many staff, who are already exhausted and feeling the mental health impacts of having battled the first wave of the pandemic. We know that excessive workload is a

key factor in determining stress levels and intention to quit. We also know that the health and wellbeing of nurses and midwives are critical to the quality of care they can provide for patients and communities. Caring for staff means better outcomes for patients, lower costs and more compassion for all. It is clear we are facing a mental health

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ISSN No. 1478-5641

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crisis – a survey carried out by the Nursing Times in April revealed the negative impact the coronavirus had on the wellbeing of nurses. Nine in ten nurses said they were feeling more stressed and anxious than usual and a third of the 3,500 respondents said their mental health was ‘bad’ or ‘very bad’. Some Trusts have risen to the challenge and are setting an example of how we can care for our carers. The Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust recently won a national award in recognition of the support it has put in place to look after staff health and wellbeing – before and during the coronavirus pandemic. The Trust has used staff feedback and ideas to develop a range of support services including free physiotherapy, health MOTs, 24-hour mental health support services, sports and hobby clubs, a scheme to reduce the cost of childcare, cycles, and car parking, flexible working and fruit and


veg stalls on both hospital sites. An enhanced programme of support was rolled out during the COVID-19 pandemic which led to the launch of 45 ‘Calm Rooms’ where staff could spend a few minutes away from their work environment to reflect and recharge with access to snacks and refreshments and read further information on support for both their physical psychological wellbeing. In partnership with Vivup, a 24-hour confidential telephone helpline and counselling support service was set up and all staff have access to a range of mental health apps to empower them to proactively manage personal mental health needs such as stress and sleep. Now, more than ever, Trust leaders must learn from these examples of best practice, listen to their staff, provide support and take on board recommendations.

Nine in ten nurses said they were feeling more stressed and anxious than usual and a third said their mental health was ‘bad’ or ‘very bad’.

In the second part of her review of

the Courage of Compassion report, CSJ’s technical editor, Kate Woodhead, discusses some of the key factors that can improve the wellbeing of staff during these difficult times. Her analysis and the original report, by the King’s Fund, are must-reads for staff and healthcare leaders. If we do not act now, we will face a ticking timebomb of mental health issues and more talent leaving the NHS.

Louise Frampton l Editor

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