NHS staff - coronavirus nurses - NHS staff

More than two in five Cheshire NHS staff felt ill due to work-related stress as the coronavirus pandemic took hold last year, according to a health service survey.

The annual NHS staff survey has revealed that 43% of Mid Cheshire Trust staff said they had felt unwell in the past 12 months as a result of work-related stress.

It found similar results in other Cheshire trusts, with 44% of workers at the Countess of Chester Trust, 47% of East Cheshire Trust team members, and 41% of those with the Cheshire and Wirral Partnership Trust saying the same.

The survey also found that nearly one in five staff members across the four trusts are considering leaving the NHS.

That includes people considering retiring or taking a career break and those considering moving to a job outside healthcare, or in healthcare but outside the NHS.

Prerana Issar, chief people officer for the NHS, said there needs to be a sustained focus on healthcare workers’ physical and mental health.

She said: “Given the high level of work-related stress for staff caused by the pandemic, we need to maintain our focus on health and wellbeing and give them the support they need during recovery to help us to maintain care for patients.”

Exacerbating the situation is that nearly half of staff across Cheshire’s NHS have gone to work despite not feeling well enough to perform their duties.

By trust, the figure was 46% Mid Cheshire employees, 47% at the Countess, 50% at East Cheshire facilities, and 42% at the Cheshire and Wirral Partnership.

This has contributed to a small drop in overall pay satisfaction year-on-year, with 38.25% of staff satisfied with earnings last year, compared to 37.25% this year.

Care minister Helen Whately said while elements of the annual staff survey responses are “encouraging”, there is more work to be done.

She said: “We will help staff recover from this pandemic, with investments in mental health support and professional development, along with our commitment to recruiting more doctors, nurses and health support workers so our NHS has the staff it needs.”

(Story by Ethan Davies and Katie Williams)

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