Your views

Readers’ panel: How prepared is the NHS for a second wave of COVID-19?

Nurses know more now about caring for patients with COVID-19, but they’re exhausted

Nurses certainly know more now about how to care for patients with COVID-19, but they are exhausted and stressed

Picture: iStock

As staff across health and social care strive to resume services in the wake of the pandemic, are organisations rehearsed and ready to cope in the event of a second wave of COVID-19?

Nursing Standard readers have their say.

Grant Byrne is a fourth-year nursing student in Edinburgh

@GGByrne

With nations reporting further waves of COVID-19, another UK outbreak seems likely. The NHS response to it will fall primarily on nursing staff, yet after months of back-breaking labour, many are ready to quit. If we are to avoid this, we must address staff concerns.

Nurses certainly know more now about how to care for patients with COVID-19, but they are exhausted and stressed

Picture: iStock

As staff across health and social care strive to resume services in the wake of the pandemic, are organisations rehearsed and ready to cope in the event of a second wave of COVID-19?

Nursing Standard readers have their say.

Grant Byrne is a fourth-year nursing student in Edinburgh

@GGByrne

With nations reporting further waves of COVID-19, another UK outbreak seems likely. The NHS response to it will fall primarily on nursing staff, yet after months of back-breaking labour, many are ready to quit. If we are to avoid this, we must address staff concerns. Boosting pay could help, but pay is only part of the problem. There are many complex underlying issues affecting retention that will only be resolved when governments start listening to staff. Change won’t come cheap, but it will be a bargain compared to the costs seen, should a future wave overwhelm the NHS.


Rachel Kent is a mental health nurse in London

We are more clinically prepared – we know what to expect now to some degree and we also know we can do it. New information keeps coming out, with ongoing research focused on improving the survival rate and providing treatment options. My concern is the emotional and psychological toll on staff; I still haven’t recovered from working through the crisis, and work is getting busier by the day as we address the challenges of the fallout from lockdown. Having to contend with a second wave in addition to this increase in work when I haven’t fully recovered concerns me.


Drew Payne is a community nurse in London

@drew_london

There are lots of plans being made, but what about staff? It was due to the amazing efforts of its staff that the NHS didn’t break under the first wave. People are tired and stressed and there has been little chance to relax, with no summer holiday under lockdown for many. Do staff have enough energy to provide the same efforts a second time around? We also have a government that shamed itself with its poor handling of the first wave, and is still easing lockdown while rates of COVID-19 increase.


Stacy Johnson is an associate professor at the University of Nottingham

@misssdjohnson

Front-line workers are ready: exhausted, traumatised, but resolved. They have shown that they are willing to do whatever it takes to care for the public. I hope the government and the public remember and honour that if there is a second wave. I worry that the public’s confidence in our government has been weakened to the extent that they may not follow advice in a second wave. I’m also worried about our government’s tendency to scapegoat advisers, the public and the professionals. We can’t underestimate this virus and we can’t defeat it if we are divided.

Readers’ panel members give their views in a personal capacity only


Related articles


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