An £8 million package to support the wellbeing of health and social care staff across Scotland has been announced.
The increased support will help fund a number of immediate recovery actions and lead to the development of a National Wellbeing programme.
The priority areas for action will include the ongoing development of the National Wellbeing Hub, National Wellbeing Helpline, and psychological interventions and therapies for staff. Coaching for Wellbeing, digital apps and the Workforce Specialist Service for regulated staff will also be provided, along with time and training for staff to support each other as teams. More practical support for staff like rest spaces will also be provided.
Social care and primary care will be targeted with £2 million of support in recognition of the specific needs of staff working in those services in responding to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
Health Secretary Humza Yousaf said: “Health and social care staff have responded to the pandemic with extraordinary fortitude, often working in unfamiliar settings, learning new skills and undertaking new roles. We owe them a great debt of gratitude for their continued hard work, commitment and professionalism.
“We are committed to supporting our NHS and social care staff now and into the future. The wellbeing of staff remains a critical priority that will influence the way that our health and social services recover.
“We know that the pandemic has affected staff in a range of ways and this £8 million package of support will help us meet the basic practical and emotional needs which workers tell us are right for them, alongside more specialised mental health support where this is needed.
“The crucial frontline role of social work and social care going forward is underlined by the targeted support it will receive as part of this package.”
The package will support staff wherever they work in the system, from acute hospital wards to community settings, supplementing the resources that are in place locally.
British Medical Association (BMA) Scotland chair Lewis Morrison said: “Scotland’s doctors and indeed all NHS staff have been through an incredibly tough time over the course of the pandemic, so extra investment in support for their wellbeing is welcome. The BMA have been absolutely clear that NHS recovery won’t be possible unless it goes hand in hand with staff recovery – and this funding is a step towards making that a reality.
“Practical measures like peer support, enabling reflective practice and improved availability and quality of rest spaces are all things the BMA have pushed for and will help staff working incredibly hard on the front line to care for patients. It is vital this is now built on so doctors and their colleagues feel truly valued and get the help they need to do their job effectively and in a caring and supportive environment.”
Scottish Social Services Council (SSSC) Chief Executive, Lorraine Gray said: “Over the last 18 months social care workers have been at the heart of our response to the COVID-19 pandemic, providing a vital lifeline for the people they support when normal routines, services and contact with family and friends were severely disrupted.
“I heartily welcome this new funding for our valued social care workers to make sure they have the resources and practical support they need to take care of themselves and their own wellbeing.”