In the Medical Protection survey of nearly 900 healthcare professionals, 43% say not being able to do the right thing for patients, or ‘moral injury’, is impacting their current mental health. Others point to the impact of exhaustion on patient safety (47%) and the inability to take breaks to eat and drink (35%).

Over three quarters (76%) also say staff shortages make it difficult for them to take time off to deal with mental health issues, and 43% are considering their future in healthcare due to mental health concerns.

The Medical Protection survey follows NHS England’s recent commitment of £2.3million funding to be shared between seven regions to maintain the 40 NHS Staff Mental Health and Wellbeing Hubs. Data obtained through an FOI request by the British Psychological Society however shows the total running cost of the 40 hubs to be around £40million.


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Professor Dame Jane Dacre, Medical Protection President, said:

“Earlier this month in the NHS Workforce Plan, the Government set out its commitment to retaining the skilled, passionate healthcare professionals who have a long career ahead of them but are on the verge of quitting – many due to mental wellbeing issues which is not only worrying for them but can also jeopardise patient care.

“During the height of the Covid-19 pandemic 40 NHS Staff Mental Health and Wellbeing Hubs were established around the UK amid concerns about the mental health of healthcare professionals.  The hubs provide desperately needed support to staff struggling with a range of mental health concerns, from anxiety and depression through to moral injury.

“Demand for support with mental health issues is still high. Nearly half of our members tell us their mental health is worse now than it was during the pandemic, and a similar amount are considering their future in healthcare due to mental health concerns. We are also seeing more staff absent from work due to mental ill health than ever before.

“It therefore seems absolutely the wrong time to scale back mental health provision for healthcare staff and risk the sustainability of an established network of hubs that are crucial in supporting mental wellbeing and retention.

“We urge the Government to consider providing sustainable funding to strengthen the hubs. While retention is complex and multi-faceted, investment in mental health support for staff is a fundamental pillar.” 

Sarb Bajwa, CEO at the British Psychological Society, which has been leading the #FundNHSHubs campaign to secure the future of the wellbeing hubs, added:

“These shocking – but sadly not surprising – findings once again highlight the urgent need for the ongoing, dedicated mental health support provided by the hubs. It’s clear the health and social care workforce is running on empty, and they deserve better than a drastically reduced service that’s unable to meet demand due to short-sighted funding arrangements.”  

“Staff wellbeing and patient safety go hand in hand, and it’s vital the government invests in supporting its existing workforce through successful hub services that have been a lifeline for thousands of health professionals.” 

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