In the fourth year of the COVID-19 pandemic, the psychological state of a significant section of the healthcare workforce in Manchester is at its lowest point.

Evidence indicates that healthcare workers have been disproportionately affected by the pandemic.

In a survey conducted by Nursing Times, 40 percent of nurses that their mental health is “worse” or “much worse” now than it was in 2020 or 2021. 

A nursing spokesperson said: “I’m really afraid of making mistakes or omissions due to the heavy work pressure.”

These stark findings reflect the heavy personal toll that the crisis in health care is taking on workers.

The sharp increase in Illness, retirement and burnout during the pandemic leads to understaffing.

Due to higher patient acuity, lack of workplace support and unable to cope with increased workloads, many nurses are leaving the profession entirely.

Image credit © Jennifer Van Schooler

The problem of understaffing afflicts not only NHS nurses but health care workers across the nation.

NHS sickness absence rates showed that in most of the months that staff was battling the pandemic, stress, anxiety and other mental health illnesses accounted for more lost days of work than staff who had Covid or were self-isolating.

It was clear from the findings that nurses also wanted those in power to take action on staffing, pay and pressures to address the root causes of their poor mental health.

With 47,000 nurse vacancies in the NHS in England already, nursing staff warned that colleagues were “leaving in droves”.

Experiencing distress and mental health issues during a pandemic is not a novel experience for healthcare workers. Previous health crises including SARS, Ebola and MERS have been associated with increased risk of stress-related disorders, depression, and anxiety. An exhausted and demoralized workforce tends to increase the risk of errors in patient health. Nurses have the highest rates of sickness from stress in the medical field. 

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