EHS-COVID (556) The effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on health-care workers (1) Health-worker-centred health systems

15 December, 2022

Citation, extracts and a comment from me below.

CITATION: The effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on health-care workers. Jo Billings

The Lancet Psychiatry. Comment| volume 10, issue 1, p3-5, january 01, 2023

Published:January, 2023DOI:

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a profound impact on the health-care workforce in the UK and worldwide...

However, health-care workers in England, and across the world, have continued to face considerable challenges in the workplace, with little time to recover from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. Health-care workers are now dealing with a backlog of patients who experienced interruptions to clinical care due to the pandemic, continued staff and resource shortages, and ongoing disputes over working conditions and pay...

Frontline health-care workers from several countries participating in qualitative research are also reporting experiences of stress, burnout, moral injury, and vicarious traumatisation... Family members of health-care workers also report a considerable detriment to their own wellbeing due to their loved ones working on the frontline during the pandemic...

Should mental health professionals have a role in holding organisations to account for better protecting the mental health and wellbeing of their staff, mitigating preventable distress, and putting appropriate primary prevention strategies in place?...

COMMENT (NPW): Today is the first and largest-ever nursing strike in the history of the National Health Service. The strike is about fair pay and patient safety (especially as a result of staff shortages). It is not formally linked to the COVID pandemic, but there has been a disconnect between the deserved public adulation of health workers during the pandemic and the lack of support that many health workers have felt since. There have been many health worker strikes across the world. I believe it is not enough to have person-centred healthcare systems; systems should equally be health-worker-centred. All healthcare providers have basic needs which must be met to deliver safe and effective care, and these may be summarised by the acronym SEISMIC: Skills, Equipment, Information, Systems support, Medicines, Incentives (including a decent salary) and Communication facilities.

Dr Neil Pakenham-Walsh, HIFA Coordinator

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