Devastating toll of Covid-19 on NHS workers' mental health revealed 10 months ago

Devastating toll of Covid-19 on NHS workers' mental health revealed

Nearly one in five nurses working in intensive care units reported "thoughts of self-harm or suicide"

The coronavirus pandemic has had a devastating impact on the mental health of frontline NHS workers, according to a new report.

Advertisement

Hospitals across the country have become increasingly stretched due to the impact of Covid-19. A major incident was recently declared in London, for example, as a result of hospitals in the capital becoming overwhelmed and unable to cope with the pandemic.

It seems these pressures have had a discernible effect on the mental health of NHS staff.

Almost 50% of staff working in ICU displayed symptoms of PTSD, depression or anxiety. Nearly one in five nurses working in intensive care units reported "thoughts of self-harm or suicide".

According to The Independent, the number of doctors receiving treatment for mental health problems has doubled since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic.

Advertisement

A survey conducted by King's College London back in July last year shows similar results.

In this survey, 45 percent of doctors and nurses working in an intensive care unit reported PTSD, anxiety and depression.

With the country having experienced two more subsequent lockdowns and a resurgence in Covid-19 cases, these outcomes are likely to have only gotten worse.

709 frontline NHS employees across nine intensive care units were surveyed as part of the KCL study.

13 per cent said they had experienced thoughts of suicide or of inflicting some level of self-harm in the two weeks prior to the survey. The rates among doctors and nurses specifically were even higher. Over one in seven doctors developed thoughts of suicide or self-harm, whereas the figure was one in five for nurses.

Advertisement

Professor Neil Greenberg - who led the KCL study - said: "The severity of symptoms we identified are highly likely to impair some ICU staffs ability to provide high quality care as well as negatively impacting on their quality of life".

The British Medical Association report similar findings.

By November 2020, around 50 percent more doctors were contacting the BMA's mental health helpline when compared to the previous January.

The deputy chair of the BMA told The Independent that frontline staff were being left "physically and mentally scarred" due to the impact of working during the pandemic.

Advertisement