Support for exhausted NHS workers in South Tyneside after 'traumatic times'

“Tired” health workers in South Tyneside have faced “significant traumatic times” during the pandemic, however health chiefs say support remains in place as pressures start to ease.

NHS South Tyneside Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) chiefs reported numerous avenues of support have been provided to hospital workers and other medical staff through the Covid-19 pandemic.

The latest meeting of the CCG Governing Body heard that although there are signs of improvements in terms of hospital pressures, the pandemic has taken its toll on staff.

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Dr Neil O’Brien, accountable officer at the CCG, said: “Staff are tired, some staff have gone through quite significant traumatic times.

A file image of an NHS worker.

“Mental health providers though have offered throughout the pandemic, and still are providing, additional psychological support for NHS staff if they have any specific issues.”

He added occupational health and human resources departments will also have steps in place to look after staff welfare.

Meanwhile the CCG has initiatives to support staff and are keeping in regular touch, meaning they are “not aware” of any further issues.

This comes after the system became “very pressured” in January and over Christmas, which has now started to ease.

Dr O’Brien added: “The number of patients in hospitals with Covid is starting to reduce, the staff sickness, which did reach quite high levels, is starting to reduce across all providers.

“The Covid numbers, although the number of patients that were in hospital was quite high, often quite a few of those, well over half, were in hospital for other reasons and just happened to find that they had Covid on screening.”

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He added while the latest wave had a “very different feel”, it was still “very difficult to manage” due to infection prevention control requirements and staff sickness issues.

Deb Cornell, head of corporate affairs at the CCG, added there remains “pressures” in the system, but hopes there will be further improvements moving forward.

She said: “There is a lot of pressure still in the system, but there are some early signs of improvements that may be starting to ease, but still that pressure does remain.

“The performance has been impacted by the continued staff sickness and isolation related to Covid, coupled with that increased demand that is impacting on that flow.”

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She added work remains ongoing within South Tyneside, and partners in other areas, to ease the pressures.

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