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Thousands to be spent on staff mental health support at hospital trust

PUBLISHED: 16:30 02 July 2020

Thousands are set to be invested to help staff mental health at ESNEFT following the coronavirus pandemic Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Thousands are set to be invested to help staff mental health at ESNEFT following the coronavirus pandemic Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

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Suffolk health chiefs have outlined how they will support staff going forward as the coronavirus situation continues to change.

ESNEFT chiefs discussed the current situation at the trust during a public board meeting on Thursday.

Hospital chief executive Nick Hulme told the meeting that the focus on coronavirus was increasingly moving away from hospitals towards local authorities, public health and community settings.

Mr Hulme said he was “working closely” with these groups on how the hospitals would play their part moving forward.

Neil Moloney, managing director at ESNEFT said that the trust had “a substantially reduced level of Covid-19 activity”.

“It’s really good news,” said Mr Moloney.

As well as an improving situation for patients, there was also positive news about staff health.

Leigh Howlett, interim director of HR and OD at ESNEFT, said that 81 members of staff from the trust had been tested for the virus in the past month.

Of these tests, she said only one, taken at Colchester Hospital, had tested positive.

Ms Howlett said that no positive tests had been confirmed at Ipswich Hospital since May 18.

She also confirmed that 37 members of ESNEFT staff were currently absent with coronavirus related symptoms.

Ms Howlett said some were related to ongoing problems from the virus, both physical and psychological.

The board meeting also heard how staff mental health would be looked after going forward, particularly for staff that had been working on coronavirus wards.

Over £150,000 from the hospitals’ charity fund will be used to provide specialist training for mental health first aiders.

ESNEFT is hoping that the money will be used to train around 10% of staff in this role.

The first aiders will be able to help colleagues with mental health difficulties and will support staff wellbeing.

Trained mental health first aiders have already been helping at the trust during the pandemic.

Ms Howlett said that a guide was also being developed for managers within the trust so that they could support their own wellbeing and have conversations with staff.


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