The Impact of COVID-19 on Wellbeing and Work Ability in the NHS Oncology Workforce: Initial results of the COVID-NOW Study


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Susana Banerjee1, Jonathan Lim, Eleanor Thorne, Konstantinos Kamposioras, Anna-Marie Stevens, Clare Shaw, Emma Foreman, Rachel Broadbent, Jennifer Cotton, Joanne Droney, Michael Flynn, James Stewart, Kylie Fitch, Laura Pope, Sara Lister, Claire Hardy
1The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust

Abstract

Background

COVID-19 has forced oncology professionals globally to face both personal and professional challenges. The impact of COVID-19 pandemic on wellbeing and burnout has the potential for serious negative consequences on work and home life as well as patient care both in the immediate and longer term. It is fundamental to understand factors influencing wellbeing and identify measures that can be instituted to protect wellbeing and work ability in the NHS oncology multidisciplinary workforce.

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Method

COVID-NOW is an academic sponsored UK study (IRAS:284354) which investigates wellbeing during and after COVID-19 in relation to work, lifestyle and support factors in UK oncology professionals. A mixed methods approach of two longitudinal studies collecting both quantitative and qualitative data at 3 time points since the COVID-19 pandemic is used.  1) A series of online surveys conducted using validated items and additional questions exploring COVID-19 related work and lifestyle factors. 2) Semi-structured interviews. Statistical analyses were used to examine group differences, associations and to explore predictors of key outcomes.

Results

Results from the first survey (conducted in June 2020) of the COVID-NOW study will be presented.  Responses from 1038 UK oncology workforce participants were included. The mean age was 42 years (range 18-75); 83% women; 87% white ethnicity; 23% doctors, 31% nurses, 20% allied health professionals, 11% pharmacy staff and 15% support staff. 66% felt able to do their job without compromising personal safety. Amongst staff working with patients, 84% reported having patients diagnosed with COVID-19. Overall, 42% had a WHO-5 score <50 indicating poor wellbeing. 34% reported burnout (score ≥3).  Further analyses including associations with key outcomes are underway and will be presented.

Conclusion

This is the largest UK study to date on the impact of COVID-19 on wellbeing in the oncology workforce. The results will help guide support measures for UK Oncology professionals and institutions.

Impact statement

COVID-NOW results will help guide support measures for UK Oncology professionals and institutions which is essential to ensure the future of oncology care and cancer research.