A Lancaster psychologist is part of a UK team researching staff who work in oncology departments to share their experiences and views about working during the COVID-19 crisis.
The team is led by The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust in London and funded by The Royal Marsden Cancer Charity, with support from the NIHR Biomedical Research Centre at The Royal Marsden and The Institute of Cancer Research.
Dr Claire Hardy from Lancaster University’s Centre for Organisational Health and Well-Being is the lead psychology researcher.
She said: “It is a privilege to be working with the Royal Marsden on this important topic. The project will conduct essential research to help us better understand staff experiences of working in the NHS during COVID-19 and how we may be able to help them remain healthy and effective in their roles.”
The team hope the findings will help shape existing wellbeing initiatives and inform new supportive policies.
Those working in oncology face unique challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic, which researchers fear could cause anxiety and stress amongst the workforce. Cancer patients are particularly vulnerable, with often complex treatment plans in place. Clinicians are making critical and difficult decisions daily, balancing the need to continue care, with the risks COVID-19 presents for cancer patients.
Chief Investigator, Dr Susana Banerjee, Consultant Medical Oncologist at The Royal Marsden and Reader in Women’s Cancers at The Institute of Cancer Research, London, said: “Working in healthcare, our priority is the care and wellbeing of our patients. But when it comes to our own mental health, this is too often much lower down the list for us to address. We need to support all staff – not only those on the frontline – so that they remain well and committed to their work in the NHS to keep delivering world class care to our cancer patients. Wellbeing, resilience and reducing ‘burnout’ is fundamental to this.”