The Liberal Democrats have today passed new plans to address the mental health impact that the Coronavirus pandemic is having on our health and care workers. The new proposals would ensure no-one slips through the net as the scale of this crisis emerges.
During Liberal Democrat Autumn Conference 2020, first to be held entirely online, a raft of new policies were approved to help give NHS and care staff the support they need and deserve.
As part of the new policy measures, the Liberal Democrats are calling for a dedicated 24/7 mental health support helpline, introduction of an ‘occupational health passport’ as well as additional mental health first-aid training to be rolled out across the country.
Cllr Carol Runciman, Liberal Democrat Executive Member for Adult Social Care and Health, commented:
“We cannot underestimate the toll this crisis will have on our health and care staff in York and across the country. They have lost colleagues, endured serious illness, or faced significant trauma.
“There needs to be long term support to help all those who have risked their lives to care for all those affected by the virus.
“I am proud to see the Liberal Democrats stand up for the wellbeing of our healthcare heroes. This Government must recognise the sacrifices made by our excellent NHS and care staff and look to introduce the measures agreed by the Liberal Democrats, to improve access to mental health support for all those working in health and care settings.”
The package of mental health measures agreed by the Liberal Democrat conference, includes:
• 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 by scrapping the Bradford scoring system and other HR practices that can create a culture of presenteeism.
• Introduce an ‘occupational health passport’ so workers do not have to relive mental health traumas if or 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 region in which they are base.
• The roll out of these services must 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.