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.
“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.
“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?”
A Scottish Government spokesman said: “As announced by the Health Secretary on May 11, the Scottish Government has developed, in collaboration with trauma specialists, a wellbeing hub to protect the physical and mental health of staff across health and social care services.
“These resources are designed to aid resilience for the whole workforce while responding to the current pandemic and to help provide long-term support to staff.
“Protecting health and social care staff, wherever they work, continues to be a priority for the Scottish Government and this includes doing all we can to protect people’s mental health.
“We have committed to maintaining a sustained focus on the wellbeing of the health and social care workforce, and with a range of organisations, including professional bodies and trades unions are continuing to explore further measures to support staff, especially in the realm of specialist psychosocial services, beyond the immediate challenge of Covid-19.”