NHS CHECK: Understanding and mitigating the psychosocial impact of COVID-19 on NHS staff in England

PROJECT STATUS: Ongoing
Summary

NHS CHECK is investigating the psychosocial and occupational impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on NHS staff in Trusts across England. 

NHS CHECK is a longitudinal cohort study, consisting of online and paper surveys completed at 6, 8, and 12 months from April 2020. Around 23,400 staff (clinical, non-clinical, professional and support staff) working in participating Trusts were invited to complete surveys via emails, posters, flyers, and meetings. A Patient and Public Involvement (PPI) group consisting of NHS staff in frontline and support roles, wellbeing and diversity group representatives, and trade union representatives, helped develop the surveys and recruitment strategy.

It is important to note that, as in all questionnaire-only surveys of mental health, the measures used in NHS CHECK do not indicate a mental disorder diagnosis, but an increased probability that a disorder may exist. In-depth structured diagnostic phone interviews are being used with a sub-sample of participants at 6-12 months to validate survey data.

This will give more accurate data on the true prevalence of mental disorders in order to distinguish disorders from distress. Though both may require further intervention or treatment, this is more likely with disorders than distress.

ARC North Thames is the lead ARC on NHS CHECK, working collaboratively with 7 NIHR ARCs across the country. Funded by the UKRI-DHSC, MRC and other funders, it has received Urgent Public Health Priority status and will therefore be prioritised for resource allocation in any future emergency phase of the pandemic.

Initially conceived by researchers at Kings College London and launched in three London King’s Health Partners Trusts, other Trusts were subsequently added using a staggered approach, covering: Cornwall, Devon, Cambridge, Peterborough, Norfolk, East Suffolk, North Essex, Leicester, Nottingham, Derby, Avon and Wiltshire, Gloucestershire.

Key Findings

Initial results show over half (52%) the sample recruited to date have reported symptoms of poor general psychological health.

Around a quarter of the sample report symptoms of anxiety (23%), depression (28%), and PTSD (25%).

Just over an tenth (11%) of the sample report potentially problematic alcohol use. 

Compared to results from population-level studies of wellbeing during the pandemic, our sample shows higher prevalence of poor general psychological health, but similar prevalence of anxiety and depression.

IMPACTS

We have provided briefing notes to NHS England and NHS Involvement (NHSE/I) and the House of Lords about the impact of the pandemic on NHS workers' mental health and wellbeing.

We have also provided regular interim reports to participating Trusts.

Contact: Dr Danielle Lamb d.lamb@ucl.ac.uk

Partners & Collaborators

Kings College London

University College London

South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust

Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust

King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust

NHS England 

NIHR Maudsley Biomedical Research Centre (BRC)

NIHR ARC North Thames

NIHR ARC East Midlands

NIHR ARC East of England

NIHR ARC North East and North Cumbria

NIHR ARC South London

NIHR ARC South West Peninsula

NIHR ARC West

NIHR ARC Yorkshire and Humber

 

Lead Investigator
Prof Sir Simon Wessely (KCL)
Prof Neil Greenberg (KCL)
Prof Reza Razavi (KCL)
Dr Sharon Stevelink (KCL)
Prof Mathew Hotopf (NIHR Maudsley BRC)
Investigating Team
Dr Sean Cross (Maudsley NHS)
Dr Amy Dewar (Guy’s and St Thomas’)
Dr Mary Docherty (King’s College NHS)
Dr Sam Gnanapragasam (Maudsley NHS)
Professor Stephani Hatch (KCL)
Dr Ira Madan (Guy's and St Thomas')
Dr Sally Marlow (KCL)
Alexandra Pollitt (KCL)
Resources