Call for NHS staff to be better supported so as to avoid undue risk-taking

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SOM, the Society of Occupational Medicine, has called for NHS staff to be better supported in the workplace so as to avoid the need for unnecessary risk-taking.

It has joined forces with the British Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP) to press the case for better national and organisational policies and practices to protect and support workers with an elevated risk of contracting Covid-19.

The two bodies have called for better support for doctors, nurses and other frontline workers to be able to report safely their concerns regarding access to correct personal protective equipment (PPE) “and to do so within a culture that supports, encourages and acts on these concerns”.

In a statement, they said: “It is essential that healthcare workers are confident they have effective vaccination, PPE protection, in conjunction with adequate ventilation, and other occupational health controls. It is vital too that staff are supported to manage the tensions that put them at greater risk of mental ill health.”

Separately, the Royal College of Nursing has reiterated its call for all NHS workers to be issued with better PPE to protect them from the new variants of Covid-19 now circulating.

Its demand followed data published by the Office for National Statistics which showed that 414 health care workers and 469 social care workers in England and Wales had died from Covid-19 between 09 March and 28 December, 2020.

RCN chief executive and general secretary Dame Donna Kinnair said: “The fact the rate of death amongst nursing staff is significantly higher than the general population highlights the absolute need to properly investigate why this is happening and give them the protection they need.”

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