Lib Dems seek more mental health support for health and care staff in Oldham
Date published: 20 May 2020
Oldham Liberal Democrat Councillor Sam Al-Hamdani
The Liberal Democrats are calling on the Government to ramp up mental health support for health and care staff in Oldham to ensure 'world-class' support for those tackling the virus head on.
Highlighting the 'deep scar' coronavirus will leave on health and care staff in Oldham, the local Liberal Democrats have put forward a package of mental health measures, including:
* 24/7 access to mental health support for health and social care workers, through a dedicated helpline
* Guarantees that health and care staff will no longer be penalised for time off due to mental or physical ill health, including when transitioning between roles
* Introduce an ‘occupational health passport’ so workers do not have to relive mental health traumas when they change jobs.
* Additional training to ensure there are mental health first-aiders in every health and care workforce
* Steps to standardise the quality and service offer to ensure that every health and social care worker can access the same, high standard of mental care support regardless of the where in Oldham they are based.
The Liberal Democrats want the roll-out of these services to be for all staff, whether or not they are directly involved in patient treatment, in recognition of the wide scale of the impact of the COVID-19 across all teams.
If adopted, the proposals will improve access to mental health support for all those working in health and care settings.
Oldham Liberal Democrat Councillor Sam Al-Hamdani said: "The clap for our carers every Thursday evening is not just a gesture - people want to see those working on the frontline supported throughout the coronavirus crisis and beyond.
"We cannot underestimate the toll this crisis will have on our health and care staff in Oldham.
"There needs to be long term support to help all those who have risked so much to care for all those affected by the virus.
"Ministers must not stick their heads in the sand.
"It is essential they roll out these measures urgently, otherwise they are denying our health and care staff support when they need it most."
Munira Wilson, Liberal Democrat Health, Wellbeing and Social Care spokesperson, said: “COVID-19 will leave a deep scar on our health and care workforce, who have gone above and beyond to tackle this dreadful virus.
"Thousands have lost colleagues, endured serious illness, or faced significant trauma.
“Our proposals include a mental health support hotline, open to staff 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
"Our hospitals and care services are staffed around the clock, so the support services staff need should be too.
"In addition, we propose measures to ensure NHS and care staff are not penalised for days off due to ill health.
“The UK mental health response to COVID-19 should be world-class.
"That means investing now to prepare for the challenges ahead."
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