The announcement of an additional £15m investment by NHS England to bolster mental health support for nurses, paramedics, therapists, pharmacists and support staff has been welcomed by health organisations.
The investment will help fund outreach work among those staff deemed most at risk, such as critical care staff.
Staff referred by themselves or colleagues will be rapidly assessed and treated by local expert mental health services. Those with the most severe needs will be referred to a specialist centre of excellence.
The £15 million funding package will be spent on:
- creating a national support service for critical care staff who research suggests are most vulnerable to severe trauma
- funding nationwide outreach and assessment services, ensuring staff receive rapid access to evidence based mental health services
- developing wellbeing and psychological training, set to be rolled out this winter.
NHS National Mental Health Director, Claire Murdoch said: “It is crucial that the NHS staff working tirelessly to protect the health of the nation throughout this pandemic are given the support they deserve, which is why we are announcing this expansion of services.
“Frontline workers are the backbone of the NHS, from porters and cleaners to nurses, doctors and therapists, and this funding will ensure they are properly supported while they continue to care for the thousands of patients who rely on the NHS.”
One of the organisations to welcome the new strengthening of mental health support for NHS staff across England was the Royal College of Nursing (RCN).
Dame Donna Kinnair, RCN Chief Executive & General Secretary, said: “This pandemic has required nursing staff to show incredible dedication. Some nursing staff have had to make decisions that put patients’ needs above their own.
“They have stayed away from friends and family, in hotels, so they can keep working. They have worked longer hours in highly pressurised settings.
“Many of the factors that worsen the wellbeing of the workforce existed before Covid-19 such as unhealthy working patterns and a severe shortage of staff. Employers, in all settings and sectors, must determine the impact these issues have on their staff and take action immediately."