Supporting staff following the outbreak

COVID-19 health, safety and wellbeing

Consideration should also be given to how organisations will support staff in the longer term, following the initial impact of the outbreak. The ongoing effects on mental wellbeing can be significant and a local plan signposting to ongoing support locally and nationally should be developed, but specifically focused on where to seek support. For example, line managers, occupational health, or support services such as employee assistance programmes. 

Organisations could refer to the NHS Health and Wellbeing Framework, specifically the section on mental health and the diagnostic tool, to help ensure staff are fully supported going forwards.  

Evidence shows that some staff may need additional support months and/or years after a particularly traumatic or stressful event. Individuals will need a variety of different approaches to support their particular circumstances, which may vary from individual to individual.  

Consideration is being given to the development of a national framework, similar to frameworks established for agency staffing, for example, to enable employers to access additional capacity in psychological support for a period of time after the outbreak subsides. This would mean that providers of psychological support would be assessed and approved to join a national suppliers’ list, which employers can access. 

Additionally, reciprocal arrangements between organisations can be facilitated so that senior staff or staff in special circumstances could access support outside their employing organisation. Reciprocal arrangements may also be beneficial in meeting spikes in capacity in different parts of the system. 

Identifying early signs of distress and signposting support can be very helpful, and managers will need to be well informed to take an active role in supporting and reassuring staff. NHS Employers works closely with key stakeholders to provide signposting and support for the mental wellbeing of staff in the NHS.  Recommended resources can be accessed on NHS Employers mental health web pages, and a toolkit developed with Mind.  

NHS Employers also has an emotional wellbeing toolkit, How are you feeling NHS? which provides support for enabling conversations and supporting individuals with actions to improve their emotional wellbeing. 

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