THE events of recent years have brought untold pressure on NHS staff working in a system which was already at breaking point. Staff have managed to pull through, innovate and cover shifts, often working through their own sickness and not taking breaks.
Staff resilience can be likened to an elastic band – every time you pull, it snaps back into shape until one day it breaks. We can’t keep pulling at the elastic band, expecting more from our workforce without realising there will be a breaking point.
Recent research has found that an estimated 60,000 NHS workers could be living with post-traumatic stress as a result of the pandemic. Nine in 10 members of staff stated that it would take them years to recover and three-quarters were concerned about the wellbeing of a colleague. These are numbers that cannot be ignored.
Our focus should be on investing in resources to enable healthcare staff to have somewhere to go when in difficulty, and also in training on how to recognise a colleague is in difficulty and what can be done to help.
A range of free services
Duty To Care is a charitable trust providing free, one-to-one, online, mental health and wellbeing support to NHS staff. It was established in 2020 and in our first two years of operation we have delivered just under 6,000 support sessions.
Anyone with an NHS email address can apply for support from Duty To Care and we urge NHS workers to seek help through their own place of work in conjunction with our services.
We provide access to 15 types of therapy and wellbeing practices, and our therapists and practitioners support NHS staff with burnout, depression, panic attacks, anxiety, stress and trauma. We provide online one-to-one sessions that accommodate shift patterns of NHS staff and effectively remove geographic barriers to access.
We believe Duty To Care is the only UK charity which provides:
- services to all NHS staff regardless of their role (from porters and admin staff to medics and nurses)
- breadth of offering, covering more conventional talking therapies (psychotherapy, CBT, counselling) to physical therapies (fitness/personal training/yoga) and growing wellbeing areas such as mindfulness and breathwork training
- the ability for the NHS workers to engage directly with practitioners and choose the therapists they want to work with and the type of therapy/wellbeing practice which is right for them
- no waiting lists.
Barely scratching the surface
We have universally positive testimonials from the NHS staff we support and almost every healthcare worker we speak to has expressed a need for our service or knows colleagues who do. However, with over 1.4 million NHS employees, we are barely scratching the surface.
Duty To Care wants to vastly increase our reach within the NHS workforce, and support as many staff as we possibly can and in order to do this we need to expand. Therefore our focus and resources must be on fundraising to ensure that we can generate enough income from donations, grants and corporate partnerships to enable us to continue providing, and ideally significantly increase, this vital support for NHS staff.
This page was correct at the time of publication. Any guidance is intended as general guidance for members only. If you are a member and need specific advice relating to your own circumstances, please contact one of our advisers.