The Labour Party has called for a comprehensive mental health package to help more than 3.1m people working in both the NHS and social care.
The opposition party has today (29 June) has today warned many NHS and social care workers are scared of going to work and the current mental health support systems are inadequate.
It added the current COVID-19 support hotline offers emotional support and signposting but does not lead on to psychological therapies.
Instead, it has called for the creation of a four-stage Care for Carers package to cover all NHS and social care staff in England, including contracted workers such as porters, cleaners and support staff who are doing vital and often distressing work during the coronavirus pandemic and are more likely to be low paid and on insecure contracts.
The package would include a new national hotline available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, follow-up support and signposting to external services, such as alcohol and addiction services.
It has also called on the Government to appoint a new independent national wellbeing guardian to coordinate and oversee the support, and to hold the Government and NHS employers to account.
The watchdog would work with unions, NHS Trusts, local authorities and care providers to ensure all staff know how to access the scheme and give them the confidence that their wellbeing was being championed and protected.
Labour’s shadow mental health minister, Dr Rosena Allin-Khan said the current pandemic has exacerbated the existing crisis in mental health.
‘It has been heartbreaking to witness the toll this virus has taken on staff mental health,’ said Dr Allin-Khan.
‘Current support is not good enough, and without a tailored, fast-tracked service for staff who have faced death and despair every day for over three months, our frontline heroes will continue to be failed.
‘We need to care for our carers. It is time for the government to give back to those who have sacrificed so much to keep our loved ones safe. Unless our staff are protected, they cannot continue their vital work of keeping us all safe,’ she added.
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