Health secretary warned of PTSD risk in frontline workers

Scottish Labour call on Jeane Freeman to detail what support will be made available to staff working with Covid-19 patients.

Coronavirus: Health secretary urged to outline plans to deal with PTSD.
Coronavirus: Health secretary urged to outline plans to deal with PTSD.

Health secretary Jeane Freeman has been urged to outline plans to deal with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in frontline workers caused by dealing with the pandemic.

Scottish Labour’s health and social care spokeswoman Monica Lennon called on Jeane Freeman to detail what support will be in place to help mitigate the long-term impact, including specialist PTSD services.

Ms Lennon raised concerns of frontline staff and trade unions about the mental health impact of coronavirus in a letter to the health secretary, saying it is taking an “unprecedented toll” on workers.

“I am increasingly concerned about the short and long-term impact of this crisis on the overall wellbeing of staff who are dealing with extremely difficult situations on a daily basis,” she wrote.

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“I welcome actions that have been taken so far to provide additional support for both frontline staff and the population in general.

“However, we cannot underestimate the impact on mental health of the strain which many frontline staff are currently experiencing.

“Fears and anxieties over PPE, long working hours and the emotional toll of working with sick patients and care home residents, many of whom will have died from this virus, is taking an unprecedented toll on frontline workers.

“We also know that the long-term impact of this strain can be significant and that many will be at risk of developing PTSD which can present months or even years after the initial trauma.

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“Can you also please outline what plans the Scottish Government has to look after the long-term mental health of frontline staff, including the provision of specialist PTSD services?”