CMO Annual Report 2020- 2021

40 Chief Medical Officer for Scotland Annual Report 2020 -2021 SUSTAINABILITY OF OUR WORKFORCE We can’t begin to recover our health and care system without considering how the pandemic has affected our own physical and mental health. This has been the most difficult year of my career. When I speak to colleagues, no matter where they have been working, or the service they provide, this experience is almost universally shared. We cannot ignore this or fail to proactively seek out those who need support as a consequence of their experiences during the pandemic. This is not only a moral duty to those who have shown such incredible commitment in adversity, but is essential in maintaining high quality, compassionate care for our patients in the future. Each of us will have faced varying degrees of issues, concerns for our own health, caring for our families, strain on our important relationships or looking after children during such a heavily restricted time. Some will have sustained trauma to a much greater degree. Recovery must start with acknowledging this, facilitating the means for people to express this and identifying practical means to address it. There is much discussion of the ‘new normal’ and how we can shape our health and care system to be a fulfilling place to work where we can practise Realistic Medicine. I don’t have all the answers, but I do believe that we can learn from the challenges and successes of this past year. I’m committed to working collaboratively with representatives and organisations from across the professional spectrum to gain better insights of staff experience, and build supportive inter-disciplinary teams that are orientated to provide fulfilling care and support to patients and colleagues alike. SUPPORTING THE WELLBEING OF OUR WORKFORCE “Health is all about people. Beyond the glittering surface of modern technology, the core space of every healthcare system is occupied by the unique encounter between one set of people who need services and another who have been entrusted to deliver them” Frenk et al. 100 Evidence from around the world has shown that COVID-19 continues to have a significant effect on the wellbeing and mental health of those working in health and care. 101-102 In addition to the many personal stories I have heard from colleagues and friends, the Everyone Matters Pulse Survey has allowed the experiences of those working on the frontline in health and care to be understood. This abbreviated version of iMatter was used to gain a better understanding of both the pressures and triumphs which have marked this year. Worry and anxiety are consistent themes expressed in the report. This ranges from work concerns such as patient care, workload, staffing pressures, and PPE, to increased worries about home and personal life, including caring responsibilities, shielding, ill-health, finances and ongoing uncertainty about the future. In the Scottish Government’s Re-mobilise, Recover, Re-design: the framework for NHS Scotland , staff wellbeing has been identified as an essential component. Health Boards have been asked to ensure that their remobilisation plans describe how the physical and psychological wellbeing of staff will be supported. The burden borne by health and care staff, and the need to support their physical and psychological wellbeing has led to the development of new national resources:

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