One in five healthcare workers could leave their role once the coronavirus pandemic is over, according to a new survey.
The survey published by the think tank IPPR highlights the toll the current crisis is taking on the mental health and family life of many workers in the sector.
Half of the healthcare workers questioned said their mental health had deteriorated since the coronavirus crisis began.
It found mental health impact was the greatest on younger workers, aged between 18 and 34, where almost three quarters (71%) said their mental health has got worse.
One in three reported their physical health has got worse since the beginning of the outbreak.
And a third (34%) of those aged between 35 and 44 years old said childcare had become a problem.
One in five said they are more likely to leave their job after the pandemic. If this turns out to be true, then the IPPR estimate this could mean the NHS could lose as many as 300,000 workers.
In order to prevent this, the IPPR has called for a new comprehensive support package to help healthcare workers during this crisis.
The package includes a guarantee to ensure health and social care staff get a steady supply of PPE equipment to get them through this crisis.
It also recommends a one-off ‘coronavirus’ bonus of 10% for all workers in health and care for 2020/21, and a commitment that nobody in the sector is paid less than the real Living Wage.
More than half of frontline care workers are earning less than the real Living Wage, according to a study published earlier this week by the Resolution Foundation.
The IPPR report also recommends extending access to specialist mental health therapy services to nurses, midwives and the 1.3 million people working in social care.
‘Our care heroes are making significant sacrifices to pull our country through this crisis,’ said IPPR health research fellow and lead author of the report, Chris Thomas.
‘But government must ensure people’s lives, livelihoods and security are not lost unnecessarily. That means taking urgent action.
‘Care Fit for Carers is about giving the heroes of the coronavirus pandemic the protection, support and security they need. No one should have to put their health at risk because PPE is lacking. No one should face a mental health crisis because no support was there. And no one should face financial destitution while delivering our crisis response.’
The chief executive of NHS Employers, Danny Mortimer, said: ‘The NHS is fundamentally the 1.4 million people who work in every part of our services and teams. During the biggest challenge in its history, national and local health leaders are doing everything they can to support them, and we are humbled by the support offered by our local communities and businesses.
‘Help includes a free wellbeing support helpline, providing confidential listening from trained professionals and specialist advice, and a free, 24/7 text alternative. NHS staff can call 0300 131 7000, or text FRONTLINE to 85258, to receive help and advice from specially trained volunteers, for the pressures they now face daily.’