An worldwide research found that very high workloads and an increase in workplace abuse since the onset of the COVID-19 epidemic had taken a toll on the mental health of healthcare personnel, lowering the standard of care provided globally.
59% of healthcare professionals polled from the UK, US, Saudi Arabia, Nigeria, India, and Brazil said their mental health had worsened as a result of working throughout the COVID-19 epidemic. Nearly half (48%) acknowledged that this has hampered their capacity to offer high-quality patient care, with 56 percent expressing a desire to leave their positions since the global health crisis began.
The survey was conducted by YouGov on behalf of the World Innovation Summit for Health (WISH) , the global health initiative of Qatar Foundation . The research examined the impacts of the ongoing pandemic on the lives of health and care workers to understand their experiences and feelings about their career and workplace, as well as explore how they see the future of healthcare as those serving on the frontline of care delivery.
Highlighting a major risk factor to their mental health, almost half of the healthcare professionals revealed that they had witnessed or experienced more physical and verbal abuse since the start of the pandemic. Chief Nursing Officers stood out here, with over three quarters (78 per cent) agreeing they had either seen increased abuse or been at the receiving end of it.
Identifying the biggest changes to their work since the COVID-19 outbreak, more than half of all practitioners noted a higher workload, with a third specifying colleagues under more stress as some of the most prominent developments.
“While health and care workers routinely experience physical and emotional stress from working in high pressure environments, delivering care throughout the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated these experiences, leading to an alarming impact on the mental health of caregivers on a global scale. It is imperative that governments, health systems and industry leaders listen to those that have been on the front line and learn from their experiences, to improve our collective response to the global mental health crisis that continues to compromise the quality of patient care across communities,” said Sultana Afdhal, CEO of WISH.
“As a champion of mental health, we believe this is a crucial area for global collaboration, and a tremendous opportunity for innovators, to revisit existing mechanisms, devise strategies and rebuild systems that help lift the burden from health and care workers and enable them to enhance care delivery,” Afdhal added.
WISH is a global platform which gathers healthcare experts, policymakers and innovators to unite in the goal of building a healthier world. The biennial WISH Summit aims to showcase WISH’s evidence-based research and discuss how to translate these findings into practical, policy-driven solutions that help transform global healthcare delivery.
The sixth edition of the summit is set to take place on October 4-6 in Doha, Qatar and virtually, under the banner of “Healing the Future.” The summit will thoroughly explore the legacy of COVID-19 from various perspectives, including how to build more resilient and sustainable healthcare systems, improve our response to the mental health crisis, and harness the rapid progress in pharmaceutical innovation that has taken place during the pandemic.