By Ewan Gibson
Since the first Covid-19 case was discovered in the UK back on January 29th 2020, the national health service of the United Kingdom (NHS) has been under severe pressure. Looking back after over 365 days of social distancing, face masks and restrictions, I look into how the NHS has deserved all the plaudits coming their way and now should be treated fairly and given the pay rise much want.
“I have today left hospital after a week in which the NHS saved my life, no question” – Boris Johnson after a week in ICU with Covid-19
With the nation now being able to see the light at the end of the tunnel with over 34 million people in the UK receiving their first dose of the vaccine and under 2200 cases a day is covid going to be a thing of the past sooner than we had thought.
Since the start of the pandemic, the UK has had over 4.4 million positive cases with 127,000 deaths. The nation has the 11th worst Covid-19 death rate among the world’s countries. As much as the statistics look bad, the NHS has done a wonderful job in shocking conditions.
The small amount of personal protective equipment (PPE) the NHS has been given since the start of the pandemic has been a major concern. This put massive pressure on NHS staff from the moment covid hit our shores. With the lack of PPE, staff were frightened of catching coronavirus.
In new reports, it has been revealed that there has been an astonishing 300% increase in NHS workers suffering from mental health problems since the start of the pandemic. These numbers are horrendous, seeing some of the most heroic workers in the country feeling low and down suffering from mental health issues is shocking.
The research, the largest study into the impact the pandemic has had on health carers working for the NHS to date, was led by Dr James Gilleen, lead researcher and senior lecturer in the Department of Psychology at the University of Roehampton. The findings of the report were published in the British Journal of Psychiatry Open.
“The NHS is losing 348,028 working days due to anxiety, stress and depression in just one month”
The government has come under heavy criticism over the rapid increase in mental health from not only NHS staff but with the population. This came after an NHS nurse, Trisha Roberts, 26 committed suicide after being told by her colleagues told there was “nothing they could do” to help her spinal problem. Her mental health was affected by the pandemic after her wedding was cancelled many times due to Covid while she was treating many patients with covid.
The reports show that women are more likely to suffer from anxiety and depression compared to their male colleagues. 35% of females reported mental health problems compared to 24% of males in healthcare workers.
The government has responded in the last couple of months to the calls for more investment in mental health. Dr Alex George, who competed on 2018 Love Island, was appointed youth mental health ambassador by prime minister Boris Johnson.
The Welshman had tragically lost his younger brother to suicide in 2020 “Nothing will bring my brother back but if I can make a positive impact that saves even one life, it will be worth moving mountains for,” he said.
In a post to his 1.7 million Instagram followers, Alex wrote: “Never has mental health been as important as now. “From schools to universities, the NHS and the wider public, mental health matters.”
One moment that will be remembered for years to come and helped NHS staff with their mental health while also showing how much the nation supported and thanked them, was the Clap for Our Carers. The event was typically a round of applause every Thursday at 8 pm starting on the 26th of March 2020. Millions have reportedly taken part in the clap all to show appreciation to our NHS staff.
Many NHS staff backed and supported the Clap for Our Carers, but some were calling out Brits just to listen to the rules and just stay in and follow the rules instead of clapping for them.
Anthony Johnson, a nurse in Yorkshire, told Talk Radio: “There’s probably more practical ways that people can help the NHS.
“When I mentioned I was coming on here today, most NHS workers asked for people to please follow the advice and actually stay at home because that’s still not happening.”
The pandemic has shown to many Brits that the NHS deserves a lot of praise and this has led to the majority of the nation demanding a pay rise for NHS workers. With Scotland being the first country to cave under the pressure from the people.
This means NHS staff will be getting offered an extra 4% pay rise. Health Secretary Jeane Freeman said the average pay of a front-line NHS nurse would rise by over £1,200 a year.
She said the offer, which does not apply to doctors, recognised the “service and dedication” of staff during the pandemic.
The settlement will be backdated to 1 December 2020 in recognition of an “exceptional year of significant pressure”.
It follows the £500 thank you payment for all health and social care workers which was announced by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon in November. She added that it would benefit 154,000 staff and including domestic staff, porters and health care support workers.
“Our NHS staff deserve more than applause and 1 per cent is not enough” – Nicola Sturgeon via Twitter
According to the Scottish government, the deal, if accepted, will be the “most generous National Health Service pay uplift anywhere in the UK”.
This is a massive step for NHS workers in Scotland compared to their auld enemy England. Just weeks before First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon announcement the Prime Minister, Boris Johnson had come out and offered NHS England a 1% pay rise.
Johnson had praised “heroic” health and social care workers but said the rise was as much as the government could afford during the “tough times” of the pandemic.
The Scottish government has taken the jump and many of the population have been crying out for the PM to deliver. This should be the perfect blueprint for fellow UK nations to bite the bullet on their budget and reward those who have risked their life during this pandemic and will continue to after.