NHS patients could be sent to hotels to ease pressure on hospitals

Talking of the report that nearly half of intensive care staff reported symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder, severe depression or anxiety, Mind CEO Paul Farmer said it was “very shocking but sadly not surprising”.

Given the pressures on the NHS, staff are not able to take time off to get away from the wards, so Mr Farmer said trusts need to make sure staff are clear on the support they have available to them.

One thing he would like to see is staff taking a short break at the end of theirs shift to remind them of the help that’s available.

He said: “It’s important to stress that some of these symptoms won’t be seen for months after the event, so there is time to put in a system in place.”

The findings, based on responses from 709 doctors, nurses and other clinical roles across six NHS hospitals in England, date from June and July 2020, after the height of the first wave of the coronavirus pandemic. About 45%reported symptoms consistent with a probable diagnosis of PTSD, severe depression and anxiety.

Experts have said frontline NHS staff are suffering more than combat troops, and that nearly one in five nurses working in ICU reported thoughts of self-harm or suicide, according to the study, published in the journal Occupational Medicine.