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Pressure on health services ‘as worrying as the peak of the pandemic’

Eight in ten NHS staff in survey say problems still growing amid backlog and waiting lists
Picture shows a female medic in protective clothing

Eight in ten NHS staff in survey say problems still growing amid backlog and waiting lists

Eight in ten NHS staff feel the pressures on health services now are as concerning as the height of the pandemic was, a poll suggests.

More than 80% of 1,008 UK healthcare staff who responded to the survey said problems are still growing significantly – and 96% believe they will continue for years. Particular concerns include the system being strained by a record backlog of patients and long waiting lists, as well as patients whose conditions went untreated during the pandemic.

Half of NHS staff respondents said they felt anxiety, almost a quarter had depression

Three quarters said they were also concerned about

Eight in ten NHS staff in survey say problems still growing amid backlog and waiting lists

Picture shows a female medic in protective clothing
Picture: Alamy

Eight in ten NHS staff feel the pressures on health services now are as concerning as the height of the pandemic was, a poll suggests.

More than 80% of 1,008 UK healthcare staff who responded to the survey said problems are still growing significantly – and 96% believe they will continue for years. Particular concerns include the system being strained by a record backlog of patients and long waiting lists, as well as patients whose conditions went untreated during the pandemic.

Half of NHS staff respondents said they felt anxiety, almost a quarter had depression

Three quarters said they were also concerned about a winter spike in respiratory illnesses, according to the poll by YouGov and NHS Charities Together, which provides support including mental healthcare to staff, patients and communities.

The survey, conducted online in August, also exposed the impact of the pandemic on the mental health of staff, with nearly half of respondents having experienced anxiety since the start of the pandemic and almost a quarter reporting depression.

NHS Charities Together chief executive Ellie Orton said: ‘The impact is expected to last for many years to come, which is why we must continue to be there for staff in the long term.’

RCN concerned about physical and emotional well-being of staff

RCN council chair Carol Popplestone said the findings back up the college’s analysis of sickness data released this week, which show nurses and health visitors taking more sick leave, including for anxiety and depression.

‘The pandemic has taken a toll on nursing staff and we’re concerned that without better support there will be even longer-term damage to their physical and emotional well-being,’ she said.

NHS chief people officer Prerana Issar said: ‘The past year and a half has been like no other for our staff, and their response to caring for hundreds of thousands of patients has been truly extraordinary.’

She said £15 million had been made available to provide support, including a confidential helpline, 24/7 text support and access to mental health services.

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NHS Charities Together: Increasing NHS pressures as concerning as Covid peak, say 8 in 10 staff, but support is helping


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