Working through the pandemic and beyond

By Patricia Gillen, Public Health Agency on 23 June 2021 Maternity Services EMA - European Midwives Association

Working through the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond: an examination of mental wellbeing, burnout, work-related quality of life and coping across the health and social care workforce.

The COVID-19 pandemic has seen many health and social care services overwhelmed, which has led to increased and sustained pressure and stress for health and social care staff. Midwives are on the frontline and have needed to respond to the increased need for reassurance and support from women and their families while dealing with the additional challenge of wearing PPE and workload pressures. Some midwives have been redeployed and all have had to quickly adapt to new ways of working with women and their families, including facilitating and managing the birthing partner and visiting restrictions. In their  own personal lives,  midwives have also had to cope with the challenges of changes in home life including home schooling and caring responsibilities.

We are conducting research across the UK to explore the health and wellbeing of nurses, midwives, Allied Healthcare Professional’s (AHPs), social workers, social care workers, in UK during the pandemic to formulate recommendations for improvements.

Previous findings

The results of the surveys conducted in Phase 1 (May to July 2020) and Phase 2 (November 2020 to January 2021), showed that overall well-being and work-related quality of life decreased across the health and social care workforce during the pandemic with midwives scoring slightly lower than the other professional groups across both study phases.  Findings demonstrated that respondents used more negative coping strategies, e.g. venting, self-blame, to deal with increased work-related stressors in comparison to positive coping strategies - active coping, planning, emotional support.  In Phase 2, a large proportion of respondents experienced moderate to high levels of personal burnout at 74.7 per cent  and work-related burnout at 66.3 per cent .

The full reports from the first and second surveys, including the Executive Summaries with Good Practice Guidance can be found on our website here.

In the current phase 3 survey (May to July 2021) we will once again examine the quality of working life, mental well-being, burnout and coping of a nurses, midwives, AHPs, social care workers and social workers as they continue to deliver care and rebuilt services. 

If you are a midwife, who is currently employed,  including working as an agency/bank worker or self-employed in the UK during the COVID -19 pandemic, please share your experiences with us by completing a short survey. This takes around 15 minutes to complete.

Complete the survey here.

The survey opens on 10th May and will run until beginning of July 2021

For more information about this research project, please contact Patricia Gillen on [email protected].

The research team would like to thank all previous survey respondents and to all organisations across the UK that have promoted and contributed to this study.