GMB has backed Labour’s call for a ‘Care for Carers’ package to provide mental health support to 3 million NHS and care staff.
The policy announcement comes after GMB members met the Labour team on a number of occasions to outline the mental health problems and lack of services they have faced throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.
MP’s, including Shadow Minister for Mental Health Dr Rosena Allin-Khan, heard powerful testimony from GMB members and reps who gave examples of:
• Colleagues facing huge stress as a result of the lack of PPE and the risk that poses to their own
health and the health of their families
• Increases in PTSD, depression, anxiety and addiction problems
• Trauma and grief as a result of the number of deaths of colleagues, patients and residents
• Frontline heroes having to join long NHS waiting lists to access basic mental health services
Rehana Azam, GMB National Secretary, said: “Our precious resource throughout the pandemic has been our key workers. We have heard every day from frontline workers telling us that they are at breaking point. The stress they have been under over the last few months has been unprecedented.
“GMB is pleased that Labour have recognised the mental health crisis our workers face and hope the government recognise this and look seriously at these proposals.
“Our NHS & Social Care workforce are the very people who have kept us safe during this pandemic. We owe it to them to make sure they get the support they need.”
From a GMB member working in a care home: “I am a really strong positive person and I have been a carer for over 15 years. But at the moment I really don’t think I could mentally carry on if there is another wave of COVID, I just don’t think I would have the strength to go through it again.
“There is definitely going to be a mental health crisis in the care sector.”
Statement from a GMB Paramedic Rep: “When our colleague passed away the people working close to the individual were not tested, and were only told to go home if symptomatic and then they would be tested.
“It placed them under huge anxiety. The stress on staff is visible.
“The stress is unbearable for a large percentage now, who knows what may happen on a second or third spike. I worry about my colleagues and future patient care. The PTSD is growing and will continue.”