NHS CHECK: Health and Experiences of staff working at NHS Trusts and Nightingale Hospitals
Sponsor: King's College London
CI: Professor Sir Simon Wessely
Approval Date: 05 August 2020
The COVID-19 pandemic raises many questions on biological, behavioural, emotional and social responses to a global threat. A new systematic review and meta-analyses in which we have taken part has shown strong evidence that health care workers who have had to deal with serious infection during pandemics in the past (SARS, MERS, Ebola, swine flu) are at increased risk of both current and subsequent mental health problems (Harvey et al., under review; Brooks et al., 2018). The staff deployed to the Nightingale Hospitals, specifically set up to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, and King's Health Partners provide an important and readily available population to study, and trial interventions in, as many are working on the frontline of the COVID-19 pandemic. Pandemics expose healthcare workers to overwork, isolation from friends and family, discrimination, exhaustion and an increased risk of developing common mental disorders (Harvey et al., under review). Early accounts from Wuhan, China, confirm this, resulting in impaired decision making, attention and understanding thereby hindering the control of the pandemic, but also early signs of distress may well lead to longer term mental ill-health (Kang et al., 2020). This study aims to establish a cohort of NHS staff to investigate the short, medium- and longer-term psychosocial impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. 0ver 60,000 staff within KHP and Nightingale Hospitals will be invited to participate to complete an online survey module and an intervention evaluation module. Online survey module: Data will be collected longitudinally in surveys distributed to participants at baseline, followed by (optional) surveys at month 3, 12 and 18 months from the start of the baseline survey. We plan to continue assessments up to 18 months following the lifting of social distancing measures put in place due to the COVID-19 pandemic. As it is currently unclear how long the current situation will last, an anticipated study data collection phase of 18 months is being proposed, but this can be shortened or extended depending on government guidance. Intervention evaluation module: Invitations to take part in this optional intervention evaluation module will be sent via email to participants who have given consent to take part in this module. We will also keep the option open to hand out paper surveys to groups of staff attending these staff interventions, where infection control guidelines allow, to boost response rates. Examples of proposed interventions include a wellbeing hub which is a physical facility which aims to build cohesion through provision of social contact, food and community spirit and a national helpline manned by trained professional listeners who can advise individuals about their mental health and signpost to other more interventional resources as required.
The aim of this study is to establish a cohort of NHS-affiliated staff to investigate the short, medium and longer term psychosocial impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on staff performance and wellbeing. NHS staff will be invited to participate, to complete an online survey module and an intervention evaluation module.
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