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Over 80 per cent of the female healthcare staff have reported that their job had a greater negative impact than usual on their emotional wellbeing as a result of Covid-19, latest data has revealed.

The figure is higher than that of 72 per cent reported in June 2020, a study by the NHS Confederation’s Health and Care Women Leaders Network has found adding that there is a “a significant rise” in female staff reporting poor health.

“In terms of physical health, 65 per cent said their job has caused a greater negative impact on their physical health because of the pandemic, compared with 52 per cent previously,” the study conducted during February-March period noted.

“This deterioration is cause for significant concern and suggests support may be either insufficient or absent. It may also be linked to the prolonged nature of the pandemic and the impact of the second wave of infections,” the study said, urging the concerned authorities to focus on the issue immediately.

“This re-emphasises just how important it is to work with women in the health and care workforce to make sure they are fully supported in caring for their physical and emotional wellbeing. It is all too easy to regard health and social care workers as providers of care, without recognising they, too, are human,” it added.

Stress, anxiety, and pressure were the key terms used by the health and care staff during the survey to describe the toll the pandemic has taken, with fears highlighted around burnout, isolation and persistently heavy workloads.

Despite these challenged, there have been positive experiences, with respondents highlighting teamwork, flexibility and improved work-life balance.

The healthcare workers also reported looking forward to a return to normality. “These findings show staff must have access to evidence-based support in a timely fashion, including in the longer term; it cannot be a short-term offer.

“This is especially important as staff face the continuing pressure of restoring services and tackling huge backlogs of treatment, alongside caring for Covid-19 patients, treating those with long Covid and tackling the expected rise in demand for mental health services,” the NHS Confederation has said.

Meanwhile, the first survey found the pandemic had caused major shifts in both working patterns and caring responsibilities outside work, and this survey showed struggles with work-life balance had continued.

In the summer of 2020, respondents took on an average of 11.22 additional hours each week of non-work caring responsibilities (compared with before the pandemic), rising by about 1.5 hours a week to an additional 12.81 hours in the latest survey.

This time, there was also an overall increase in the total number of hours spent each week on non-work caring responsibilities, from an average of 17.73 to 19.67.

In particular, respondents with children under 18 reported being far more involved than usual in non-work caring responsibilities, compared with the period before the pandemic.

“Having children was linked to more hours spent in non-work caring responsibilities, likely related to the prolonged closure of schools and reduced working hours. There are serious implications for career progression opportunities on this basis,” the survey showed.

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