A global study by the World Innovation Summit for Health (WISH) suggests that UK healthcare practitioners are among the most doubtful of receiving mental health support in the future.
Equally, the study revealed, a ‘lack of focus on mental health support, along with a mounting pressure on resources’, mean healthcare workers in the UK would be the least likely to embark on the same career path if they had to join their profession again now. Having borne the brunt of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic from a healthcare perspective, only 35 per cent of practitioners in the UK in the study said they would still train as healthcare professionals if joining the industry now, as opposed to 90 percent in India, 85 per cent in Nigeria, and 76 per cent in Saudi Arabia.
The study by YouGov, on behalf of the World Innovation Summit for Health (WISH) – a global healthcare community dedicated to capturing and disseminating the best evidence-based ideas and practices – revealed that 59 percent of healthcare workers in the UK said a higher workload has been one of the biggest changes they have experienced since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The study also found that of those surveyed:
- Only 17 percent thought an increased investment into research and development would be a trend, compared with those in India (60 per cent), Nigeria (57 per cent), Saudi Arabia (38 per cent), Brazil (33 per cent), and the US (25 per cent).
- Only 25 percent highlighted education and training of junior members of the team, compared with peers in Nigeria (57 per cent), India (53 per cent), and Saudi Arabia (46 per cent).
- 41 per cent saw attention on mental health and diagnosis as a developing trend; less than peers in India (59 per cent), Brazil (54 per cent), and Saudi Arabia (52 per cent).
In addition, 70 per cent – the highest number recorded – thought a pressure on resources in the industry would remain a trend in the coming years, compared with colleagues in Brazil (27 per cent), Nigeria (28 per cent), India (31 per cent), Saudi Arabia (38 per cent) and the US (57 per cent).
Sultana Afdhal, CEO of WISH (pictured), said: “These findings point to the frailty of the UK's health system, and demand urgent corrective action through increased investment in workforce training and development, as well as a sharpened focus on mental health support and advocacy to ensure staff retention. The challenges highlighted mean that governments, policymakers, and industry leaders still have a lot to learn from the lessons of the ongoing pandemic. We urge them to accelerate efforts to address the concerns of healthcare practitioners, and develop effective mechanisms to tackle the issues that are negatively impacting the NHS’s ability to keep communities protected against future health emergencies.”
The survey, which included healthcare professionals from the UK, US, Saudi Arabia, Nigeria, India, and Brazil, aimed to gain insights into the impacts of dealing with COVID-19 on healthcare workers’ lives, ‘shine a light on their experiences’, and explore what the future of healthcare might look like according to those serving on the frontline of care delivery.
WISH, a health initiative of Qatar Foundation, is a global platform which ‘gathers healthcare experts, policymakers, and innovators, to unite in the goal of building a healthier world’.