I’ve really noticed a step-change in stress levels in senior clinicians, medical and public health leaders across the system in the last few weeks. I think the boost from the summer holiday, and hopes that Covid and it’s consequences would somehow go away, have been replaced by the realities of a health and care system under extreme strain at all levels and in most specialties.
Primary care has been struggling for years and senior, experienced GPs are finding it increasingly difficult to keep going. Hospital clinicians are facing major backlogs to clear. Many public health specialists and leaders had hoped for more of a return to ‘business as usual’ – ie a return to strategic health improvement work coupled with picking up the pieces after Covid – and instead have new vaccination programmes to coordinate in schools and difficulties in recruiting staff and keeping staff at work. The public have their own needs and concerns and are looking to the NHS and the statutory sector to support them with their health and social concerns.
It’s so hard having to gear up again for another winter of Covid: feeling overwhelmed and/ or despondent is a normal human reaction.
If you are a leader or manager, it’s time to be strategic about what your staff need to enable them to stay well and at work in the coming months. I recommend a mixture of individual coaching for doctors and public health leaders or mentoring to identify and implement preventative actions personalised to each staff member, combined with a whole-team wellbeing strategic needs assessment to enable you as a leader to understand the systemic issues and risks which you will need to address collectively.
Dr Fiona Day (MBChB, FFPH, Dip Occ Med) is an EMCC Master Practitioner Coach and Mentor, and FMLM approved Executive Coach. She works with senior doctors, medical and public health leaders to improve their careers, working lives, and leadership roles. Find out more at www.fionadayconsulting.co.uk; to explore working with Fiona please book a confidential half hour Career Consultation here.