Mental Health

20.05.20

RCP: Concerns still present among many clinicians

As the Royal College of Physicians (RCP) continues to survey its members during the coronavirus outbreak, it is successfully building up a more detailed picture of the workforce, the impacts on it and its continuing concerns around Covid-19.

Having surveyed the audience three times already since the outbreak of Covid-19, twice in April and most recently in the middle of May, the RCP found clinicians still had some concerns over health risks to themselves and their households and access to personal protective equipment (PPE) and fit testing to ensure its effectiveness.

The data gathered showed to date, 37% of people having reported taking time off work during the Covid-19 outbreak, with 20% of those absent having confirmed Covid-19 infections, with a further 39% suspecting they had caught the virus.

Just under a fifth of respondents also expressed some degree of concern over access to PPE while managing patients – an improvement on previous surveys earlier during the outbreak but still a noticeable figure. Fit testing, a key process where PPE is expertly measured and fitted to ensure it is airtight and effective, had only occurred for two thirds of respondents.

Worries around personal health remained high, with 48% of respondents answering they were either concerned or very concerned. For those from a BAME background, who have been seen to suffer more prevalently from the current coronavirus outbreak, this percentage of concerned respondents rose to 76%.

READ MORE: NHS Providers: PPE guidance must restore confidence of clinicians

READ MORE: Diversifying to meet a demand: One business' response to PPE shortages

Reflecting on the results, RCP President, Professor Andrew Goddard, said: “It is no wonder that clinicians are worried for themselves and their families, when the very things that would keep them safe – PPE and testing – are still hard to access for so many of them.

“We need to get those who have symptoms back to work as soon as possible so they need to be tested in good time – waiting 3-4 days for test results at a time like this is simply unacceptable.

“Given that so many staff have had to take time off work during the pandemic, we welcome plans to roll out antibody tests to them as soon as possible so that we can understand whether they have or haven’t had the virus.

“Employers must do more to help and reassure staff – giving them the confidence to fit check their own PPE should be the bear minimum.

“Clinicians are working incredibly hard in the most extraordinary circumstances the NHS has ever faced, but without the right safety measures in place, they’re still living in fear for their own health and the health of their families. Confidence in the system they work in is low and more must be done to regain that trust.”

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