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Coronavirus: Labour demands government action as poll reveals half of NHS workers suffering mental health problems

Healthcare workers say the outbreak is affecting their mental health.

2 min read

Half of UK health workers are suffering from mental health problems as a result of fighting the coronavirus on the frontline, according to a new poll.

The YouGov survey for the IPPR thinktank found that large numbers of healthcare staff were experiencing stress and trauma as the outbreak continues.

Labour said they were being placed in an "impossible situation" because of a lack of personal protective equpment and rising death rates in care homes.

Nearly 1,000 care workers took part in the poll, with 71% of younger staff saying their mental health had been affected.

The study also found that women were more likely to be experiencing problems than men.

Only 30% said the Government was doing enough to protect their mental health, with 42% saying too little was being done.

IPPR research fellow Chris Thomas, the lead author of the report, said: "Our care heroes are making significant sacrifices to pull our country through this crisis. It is imperative government does not allow their efforts to become a modern Charge of the Light Brigade."

Shadow mental health minister Risena Allin-Khan said: "It is heartbreaking to witness the toll this virus is having on the mental health of frontline staff.

"Carers have been placed in an impossible situation, where they are having to carry out their work, often without adequate PPE, while seeing the virus spread through their care homes.

"They are having to bury the people in their care at a far greater rate than ever before. Trade unions have voiced strong concerns about this, and I support their calls for action.

"The Government must ensure that mental health support is available now, for all NHS workers and care staff, for as long as they need it."

An NHS England spokesperson said: "NHS staff are currently fighting the biggest healthcare challenge in generations, so extra support is both needed and available, including offering NHS mental health support within trusts, and new text, online and telephone support services."

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