Exclusive: NHS Chief Simon Stevens Announces Launch Of 40 New Mental Health Hubs For Staff After "Toughest Year" In Health Service History
The new service will offer support for NHS staff impacted by the pandemic [PA Images]
Forty new mental health hubs will offer free and confidential support to health care staff who have been impacted by their work during the pandemic, the NHS chief Simon Stevens has said.
In an interview with The House Magazine, the NHS Chief Executive encouraged health service workers to contact the new service as he said it was "quite right" they were feeling under "significant stress and pressure" triggered by the pandemic.
The hubs will offer online and one-to-one expert help for any NHS staff who need it, including access to mental health clinicians, therapists, recovery workers and psychologists.
Several of the dedicated mental health and wellbeing hubs have already started opening in North East London, Bedfordshire and Lancashire, with NHS staff deemed most-at-risk being contacted directly by the new service.
Speaking to The House Magazine, Stevens said the hubs were modelled on the success of The Greater Manchester Resilience Hub which was estalibished to provide support to those impacted by the 2017 Manchester terrorist attack, including NHS staff.
"Of course having just gone through the worst pandemic in a century, and the most intense operation pressure in the 72-year history of the NHS, it's quite right that staff are feeling...under significant stress and pressure. And that is not just [due to] the intensity of it, but also the extended duration of the pandemic."
It comes after a £15m boost to mental health support for NHS staff announced in last October, with Stevens saying the "extra reinforcements" would help boost staff retention.
"It's very important that people do get that workplace support, including psychological support, team-based support, and that people can see, sort of a brighter future,” Stevens says, pointing to the boosted investment in continuing professional development," he added.
"But in actual fact, the retention rate has improved over the course of the last 12 months; more people have committed to staying and working.
"Those are important points that we have to pay very careful attention to. But I think, in practice, a lot of what employers are doing locally will make a big difference."
The announcement comes as the NHS prepares to mark one year on since the first Covid-19 patient was admitted for treatment in the UK.
A total of 430,807 people in the UK have required hospital admission since the start of the pandemic, with almost 18,500 people currently in hospital with the virus.