Health and care staff need more mental health support

May 18, 2020 5:03 PM
Originally published by UK Liberal Democrats

COVID-19 will leave a deep scar on our health and care workforce, who have gone above and beyond to tackle this dreadful virus. Thousands have lost colleagues, endured serious illness, or faced significant trauma.

Whilst we can hope to get a grip on COVID-19 in the coming months, the mental health impacts will last a lifetime.

The clap for carers isn't just a gesture - people want to see the frontline supported through this crisis & beyond

That is why, today, we are proposing a series of measures to ensure no-one slips through the net as the scale of the mental health impact of this crisis emerges.

Ministers must get on top of the mental health impact of COVID-19 by backing our measures to support our vital NHS and care staff when they need it most.

Our package of mental health measures designed for rapid roll-out across the NHS and care sectors, includes:

  • 24/7 access to mental health support for health and social care workers, through a dedicated helpline.
  • Guarantees that health and care staff will no longer be penalised for time off due to mental or physical ill health by scrapping the Bradford scoring system and other HR practices that can create a culture of presenteeism.
  • Introduce an 'occupational health passport' so workers do not have to relive mental health traumas if or when they change jobs.
  • Additional training to ensure there are mental health first-aiders in every health and care workforce.
  • Steps to standardise the quality and service offer to ensure that every health and social care worker can access the same, high standard of mental care support regardless of the region in which they are base.
  • The roll out of these services must be for all staff, whether or not they are directly involved in patient treatment, in recognition of the wide scale of the impact of the COVID-19 across all teams.

If adopted, the proposals will improve access to mental health support for all those working in health and care settings.

Munira Wilson, who is spearheading the campaign, and our Health and Social Care spokesperson said:

"The UK mental health response to COVID-19 should be world-class. That means investing now to prepare for the challenges ahead.

The clap for carers is not just a gesture - people want to see those on the frontline supported right through this crisis and beyond.

Ministers must get on top of the mental health impact of COVID-19 by backing our measures to support our vital NHS and care staff when they need it most."