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Response to the Society of Occupational Medicine’s report on the mental health and wellbeing of nurses and midwives

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Commenting on the Society of Occupational Medicine’s (SOM) report, “The Mental Health and Wellbeing of Nurses and Midwives in the United Kingdom”, Andrea Sutcliffe CBE, Chief Executive and Registrar of the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC), said:

“As the regulator of more than 700,000 nurses, midwives and nursing associates across the UK, we know how demanding their roles are in delivering safe, effective and kind care for millions of people and their families using health and care services.

“But as this report illustrates, the impact on the mental health and wellbeing of nursing and midwifery professionals from bearing the brunt of workplace stress is deeply troubling. Our own latest registration data reports and leavers’ survey published last week highlights that ‘too much pressure leading to stress and / or poor mental health’ is also one of the top reasons why people have left their profession.

“The challenges and inequalities exposed by Covid-19 will have long-term implications. That makes the SOM’s call for a virtual summit to better understand the true impact of the pandemic on the mental health and wellbeing of all nurses and midwives – especially those from black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) backgrounds – all the more vital.  The summit needs to result in action for real change.

“The report’s recommendations for regulators are clear: we all have a part to play in influencing positive change. For the NMC, the Code recognises the importance of registrants maintaining their health, including their mental health, so they can carry out their professional role. When working in a system under pressure, it’s crucial that professionals can rely on a workplace culture that recognises the need to make time for self-care, where they feel safe and supported to speak up as soon as issues arise and have the confidence that their needs will be listened to and acted on.”

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