Nurses and carers suffering stress, worried about face mask shortages
Some 70% of nurses and other care workers are experiencing more mental pressure than usual, with tiredness, anxiety, stress and insomnia topping the list of complaints, according to researcher carried out by nurses association V&VN.
Over 10,000 people took part in the poll.
Over half of people working in nursing homes, as home nurses or on behalf of local health boards say they don’t have protective equipment, including face masks, while one third say they feel pressure from bosses and colleagues to carry on working without proper protection.
The results of the survey are ‘distressing’, V&VN chairman Gerton Heyne said. ‘They are worried about being a danger to their patients, and this is an enormous emotional burden,’ he said.
Some 30% of nursing staff say they have experienced coronavirus-type symptoms but half of them have continued working because they do not have a temperature.
On Thursday, figures from the RIVM public health institute showed that nursing staff account for around one third of all coronavirus infections and that nine healthcare workers have died.
Despite government assurances that there is sufficient protective equipment, home nurses are still being told that they do not need to wear a mask if they visit a patient who is coughing and sneezing, as long as they keep 1.5 metres distance, Heyne said.
‘But this is a guideline based on scarcity. If there is sufficient protective material, this should be made available,’ Heyne told Radio 1. ‘I call on the government and employers to make sure than it reaches the nurses and care workers.’
Nevertheless, experts told MPs on Thursday that protective gear should only be given to care workers and family carers if they suspect coronavirus in order to protect stocks.
Health minister Hugo de Jonge is due to say next week how carers can request certified face masks and other aids.
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