Research reveals 'ugly truth' faced by doctors responding to COVID-19 on the frontline
Press release issued: 13 December 2021
Frontline healthcare workers say they are angry at being treated as 'COVID cannon fodder, not COVID heroes' after responding to the virus for nearly two years and working at full capacity, reveal the findings of new research.
It's been ugly': A large-scale qualitative study into the difficulties frontline doctors faced across two waves of the COVID-19 pandemic' is the first study of its kind to capture the views of over 1,300 doctors in the UK and Ireland responding to COVID-19 since early 2020.
Authored by researchers from the universities of Bath, Bristol, UWE Bristol, and the Royal College of Emergency Medicine, , the study paints a bleak picture of the multiple challenges doctors are facing.
These highlight dual issues of a worrying lack of support for doctors’ basic needs (e.g., insufficient places to rest, food to eat, and relentless shift patterns), and a significant lack of appropriate psychological support to help them decompress.
Despite working at '100% capacity, 100% of the time', the frontline healthcare workers told researchers of their frustrations at those not following public health advice, and towards Government for ‘failing in so many ways to support us.’ Doctors said they felt ‘expendable’ and left traumatised by events – expressed by one person as 'I'm not a COVID hero, I'm COVID cannon fodder.'
Paper: '"It's been ugly": a large-scale qualitative study into the difficulties frontline doctors faced across two waves of the COVID-19 pandemic' by Sophie Harris, Jo Daniels et al. in International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health [open access]