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Survey of female NHS staff raises concerns over burnout in pandemic

Nearly three-quarters say job taking greater toll on emotional wellbeing during Covid crisis

Stress and exhaustion from the Covid-19 crisis threaten to intensify burnout among women working in the NHS just as it prepares to resume most services, according to a survey that has prompted calls for greater support for female staff.

The pandemic had amplified alleged bullying, sexism and racism on the part of managers, , some workers also warned, while 26% of women said they did not feel safe sharing personal concerns with their boss.

This was especially true for staff from a minority ethnic background, who also reported feeling traumatised by the disproportionate impact of the virus, said the Health and Care Women Leaders Network of the NHS Confederation, which carried out the survey.

One respondent told the survey: “It has been awful to see colleagues and friends constantly berated, put down, ignored and emotionally abused. They were the same pre-Covid, but now it is worse.”

Almost three-quarters (72%) of those surveyed reported that their job was having a greater negative impact than usual on their emotional wellbeing. More than half (52%) reported a negative impact on their physical health.

The survey received responses from more than 1,300 women working across health and care in England, including managers, doctors, nurses and administrative staff. It was carried out in June, two months after the national peak in hospital admissions.

Illustrating the longer-lasting impact the disease has had on the female health and care workforce, staff reported taking on an average of 11.22 additional hours each week of non-work caring responsibilities since the start of the lockdown. They reduced their working time to take account of theseā€¦

Ben Quinn

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