COVID-19’s Impact on Staff Well-being25th May 2020
Last week was Mental Health Awareness week; a campaign hosted by the Mental Health Foundation to raise awareness of mental health and promote positive mental health for all.
The River’s Trust recently wrote a news article on their website about Mental Health Awareness Week all about the positive impact nature can have on one’s mood. However, like many other organisations, it talked about Covid-19’s impact on our mental health and well-being.
From having to isolate, in some cases alone, to losing family members to the virus and having loved ones on the Front-Line, the Pandemic has brought along disruption and uncertainty, which can overall increase anxiety, especially for our brave NHS staff and their families.
One topic that is being frequently discussed regarding NHS staff well-being is how BAME (Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic) groups within NHS staff seem to be disproportionately affected by Coronavirus. Early research found at The Intensive Care National Audit and Research Centre found that 35% of almost 2,000 patients in intensive care units were from minority ethnic background.
The Guardian’s analysis found that of the 53 NHS staff who have died in the pandemic so far, 68% are BAME.
Dr. Koyes Ahmed is an NHS GP based in Bristol and has been an active voice online talking about topics surrounding the virus, recently featuring in a BBC article on the subject.
In an Instagram Live, Dr. Koyes spoke to BBC Asian Network Presenter, TV & Radio Host and Barrister Nadia Ali about how BAME communities are being more affected by Coronavirus and gave some statistics and reasons as to why this could be:
“One third (33%) of patients that are in critical care because of the virus are within the BAME community and the first ten doctors that passed away were sadly within BAME communities which is quite alarming considering they only make up probably 19% of the population or less.
One of the things we have to think about is poverty – people from BAME communities often come from more poverty-stricken backgrounds. Secondly a third of Bangladeshi households come from overcrowded homes in comparison to only 2% of White/Caucasian households being overcrowded.
Intergenerational households are also a factor within BAME communities as you have younger household members going to school, college or work and therefore increasing the risk of infecting vulnerable grandparents.”
In light of these numbers, it was further reported that to protect BAME staff’s well-being and their families, the NHS has been looking into taking BAME staff off the frontline and reassigned duties in an attempt to reduce their disproportionately high death rate.
NHS Trusts across the country have also been doing whatever they can to look after their BAME staff’s well-being.
Unsung Hero Award winners from this year, Diversity and Inclusion Steering Group from Wirral University Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust (WUTH) won the Corporate Services Award for their outstanding contribution to WUTH, driving the Diversity and Inclusion agenda forward which included a staff network to support LGBT, Disability and BAME staff.
Calderdale and Huddersfield NHS Foundation Trust have been using the funds raised for their charity at the 2020 Gala Event to go towards their NHS staff on the Frontline.
Fundraising Manager, Emma Kovaleski, informed the Unsung Hero Awards that the Trust have funded 80 boxes that have gone through Infection Prevention that go towards staff areas, such as the kitchen areas, living areas and a ‘Wobble Room’ in the ICU department where staff can go if they’re having a ‘wobble’ and need some time out.
Another 2020 winner Luton and Dunstable University Hospital have been seen taking care of their staff with gentle socially distanced exercises in their Health and Wellbeing Hub.
We hope our fantastic NHS staff, including Non-Medical and Non-Clinical staff of all ethnic backgrounds, are looking after themselves while protecting us and we can’t wait to celebrate the #NHS once the next Unsung Hero Awards are organised.
Written by Lily Harrison | Freelance Content Writer