‘Support for healthcare staff needed urgently’ - Colr. Duffy

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Sinn Féin spokesperson for Health, Councillor Sandra Duffy, has called on the Health Minister to urgently put in place practical and psychological support for health workers.

The Derry Councillor said: “Our health workers are now in the midst of the greatest pressures they have faced since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic.

“They are exhausted and traumatised but they continue to persevere to protect the public from the virus and keep the HSC from collapse. They must be properly supported to do this, now,” she added.

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Two weeks ago, the British Medical Association (BMA), said that in a recent survey of its members in Northern Ireland, 47% of them said they were coping but were unlikely to be able to continue indefinitely. Dr. Tom Black, head of the BMA in NI, said: “Speaking to members I know they will as always do their best for patients, but many of them have told me that they are already exhausted and deeply demoralised.”

Sinn Fein Councillor Sandra DuffySinn Fein Councillor Sandra Duffy
Sinn Fein Councillor Sandra Duffy

Colr. Duffy said: “Staff have been re-deployed to hospitals considerable distances from their homes to deliver services at the frontline of this pandemic. The department needs to deliver, not consider, hotel accommodation and taxi transport for health workers travelling large distances.

“While nurses and HSC workers can’t be created overnight, the necessary support to allow health workers to do their vital work in the middle of the crisis can be.”

Earlier this month, Pat Cullen director of the Royal College of Nursing in NI, told the Stephen Nolan show that she believed ‘‘nurses and other health care workers were starting to show early signs of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). The director also said the RCN was having to ‘double its counselling services’.