News

Female nurses’ well-being significantly worsened during COVID-19 pandemic

NHS Confederation’s survey findings must be ‘driver of real and lasting change’

NHS Confederations survey findings must be a driver of real and lasting change by the government for healthcare staff

The government has been urged to address female nurses well-being following a survey suggesting their physical and mental health has significantly worsened during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The survey, carried out by the NHS Confederations Health and Care Women Leaders Network (HCWLN) in February and March , contacted healthcare staff across England, attracting 809 female respondents, including 188 nurses. Results from the latest survey were compared to a previous HCWLN study in June 2020, which had 1,308 female participants.

NHS Confederation’s survey findings must be a ‘driver of real and lasting change’ by the government for healthcare staff

The government has been urged to address female nurses’ well-being following an NHS Confederation survey that suggests their well-being has significantly worsened during the pandemic
Picture: iStock

The government has been urged to address female nurses’ well-being following a survey suggesting their physical and mental health has significantly worsened during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The survey, carried out by the NHS Confederation’s Health and Care Women Leaders Network (HCWLN) in February and March, contacted healthcare staff across England, attracting 809 female respondents, including 188 nurses. Results from the latest survey were compared to a previous HCWLN study in June 2020, which had 1,308 female participants.

65% of survey respondents reported negative effect on physical health – up 13% from last year

As a result of the latest HCWLN survey, the government is being pushed to address flexible working, health and well-being, career progression and homeworking to offer the female healthcare workforce better support.

View our well-being resource centre

In the 2021 survey, 80% (647) respondents said their job had a greater negative impact than usual on their emotional well-being as a result of the pandemic. This was up from 72% of participants in last summer’s study.

This year’s survey also found that 65% (526 healthcare staff) reported a negative effect on their physical health in comparison to the June analysis, where 52% (680) of respondents made the same claim.

NHS cannot afford to lose any more staff

HCWLN chair Samantha Allen said: ‘We need to see tailored support specifically for the needs of female staff, and this should include recruitment, retention, flexible working and career progression.

‘We are concerned that if these issues are not addressed, it could intensify the impact on our workforce at a time when the NHS can ill-afford to lose any more staff. The findings of this survey must be a driver of real and lasting change.’

When contacted by Nursing Standard, a Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) spokesperson said it has increased its mental health support to staff, including a helpline and a 24/7 text support service. The DHSC added it has invested £63 billion in the NHS over the past year, and will invest £29 billion next year to address patient backlogs and tackle long waiting lists built-up during the pandemic.

Find out more

NHS Confederation (2021) COVID-19 and the Female Health and Care Workforce Survey Update


In other news

Sign up to continue reading for FREE

OR

Subscribe for unlimited access

Enjoy 1 month's access for £1 and get:

  • Full access to nursing standard.com and the Nursing Standard app
  • Monthly digital edition
  • RCNi Portfolio and interactive CPD quizzes
  • RCNi Learning with 200+ evidence-based modules
  • 10 articles a month from any other RCNi journal

This article is not available as part of an institutional subscription. Why is this?

Jobs