NHS and social care staff in London have revealed that they feel let down by the government and unable to cope with work-related stress, according to a survey published by UNISON.
The findings are based on responses from over 2,000 health and care workers across the capital, including nurses, midwives, healthcare assistants, as well as ambulance and administration staff, says UNISON.
Seven in ten staff responding to the survey (70%) said they’d been so overwhelmed by work-related stress they felt unable to cope. And over half (54%) admitted they’d considered quitting the NHS or social care altogether due to the pressures experienced over the past year, the union added.
The survey results reveal a third (33%) didn’t feel they had enough support in the workplace to protect their well-being. Nearly a quarter (24%) of employees sought professional help to deal with the strain their roles placed on their mental health, UNISON says.
A total of 74% of staff felt the government had failed to protect their personal safety adequately throughout the pandemic. More than three in ten (31%) admitted they’d had to work in roles they felt unqualified for due to Covid-related staff shortages, according to the survey.
After all they’ve been through in the past twelve months, almost three quarters (74%) of social care staff and 77% of NHS workers said the government’s recommendation of a 1% pay rise for health workers was an insult, UNISON added.
UNISON London head of health Jamie Brown said: ‘NHS staff in London have made tremendous sacrifices in the fight against Covid.
‘Care workers too have given their all. Their physical and mental health has suffered as well. Staff need urgent access to well-being helplines, as well as on-site mental health support teams.
’Morale is understandably on the floor, which isn’t helped one bit by the government insisting on claiming a 1% pay rise is all the country can afford.
‘Tomorrow on the day that NHS staff are due a pay rise, households across London are being urged to display colourful posters in their windows in support of health workers.
‘The government should show it values all the hard work of staff by giving them a proper pay rise, and not making them wait until later in the summer.
‘There’s a real danger many employees may feel they can no longer face such demanding roles and leave the NHS for somewhere they feel more appreciated.’
A Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) spokesperson said its priority from the outset has been to protect the NHS to save lives.
‘We recognise the pressure this pandemic has put on all health and social care staff and have put £15m into dedicated staff mental health support and launched a 24/7 helpline.
‘There are record numbers of doctors and nurses working in our NHS with nearly 10,900 more nurses and almost 6,600 more doctors than last year.
‘We are committed to supporting everyone by further boosting recruitment, investing in staff, and backing the NHS with an extra £29bn in Covid funding over the next year.
‘Over one million NHS staff continue to benefit from multi-year pay deals agreed with trade unions, which have delivered a pay rise of over 12% for newly qualified nurses and will increase junior doctors’ pay scales by 8.2%.’
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