News

A small change!

Rachel has recently moved to Cardiff Metropolitan University from University of Gloucestershire, and has had a change of role. At UoG, Rachel spend nearly 6 years developing research along with developing her career as a lecturer, but she moves now to Cardiff Met to become a Senior Research Fellow in the Health & Human Performance Global Academy.

This is a big change for Rachel, but not a big change for CV19 Heroes as the project will be moving with her. We will need a bit of time to set up the CV19 Heroes infrastructure at Cardiff, but this move will hopefully give Rachel more time to dedicate to the project going forward.

Time to Have Your Say

In response to the emergence of Omicron, to the alleged party (parties) at Number 10, and some changes in Irish government policy, we asked whether participants would like to have their say on current events. We had a good response to this consultation, so we released our Have Your Say survey in December. We will be using the findings from this survey to respond to a call from the Health & Social Care Select committee, but also to understand more about what’s happening on the ground during this strange and fast-changing time. Thank you to all who have taken part so far, we really appreciate it!

The People’s Covid Inquiry Report is out

Earlier in 2021, Rachel and Elaine presented the findings from the project to the People’s Covid Inquiry. The inquiry was led by Michael Mansfield QC, a prominent human rights lawyer. The report on the whole inquiry has now been released entitled Misconduct in Public Office and details a catalogue of failings in the pandemic response from the UK government. If you would like to read the report, you can download it for free from their website here: https://www.peoplescovidinquiry.com/

18 month survey released

October marks the release of our 18 month survey to understand more about how the pandemic is unfolding for those on the frontline. We had some excellent suggestions on new directions to take and new questions to ask thanks to our steering group, so we are hopeful this new instalment of the survey will capture more of your concerns and experiences. We will update you as soon as we can on what we find.

CV19 Heroes heading to the APPG again

Rachel and Elaine have been asked back to present evidence at the APPG on Coronavirus once more. The All Party Parliamentary Group have asked the team to provide evidence and opinion on the way that the government should proceed ahead of the winter to come. To gather evidence for this, we sent out our Quick Shot survey to get your opinions directly.

We found from your feedback that you were very concerned that the UK government had dropped the need for masks and distancing, and were very keen for these measures to be brought back in before the infection rate would get out of control. You also were concerned about the rollout of booster vaccinations to other frontline sectors who would be highly exposed to Covid, and how this could be managed better. The conduct of the UK government was also once more a feature of responses, with participants recommending that the government take more decisive and proactive action to combat the virus.

You can watch our presentation to the UK parliament here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?app=desktop&v=GyToUudpGf4&ab_channel=APPGCoronavirus

And you can read our report here: https://osf.io/4hyab/

CV19 Heroes Steering group appointed

As part of our commitment to ensuring this project works for those who are giving us their time and effort, we reached out to our participants to see if anyone would like to be part of a steering group for the project going forward. We had a great response, and have appointed just over 30 participants to form this steering group to help us make strategic decisions going forward. Thank you to everyone who expressed interest in this opportunity!

Team appointed to The Healthcare Workers’ Foundation advisory board

Elaine and Rachel have recently been appointed to the advisory board of The Healthcare Workers’ Foundation (The HWF) advisory board. The HWF was set up during the early stages of the pandemic by Dr Dominic Pimenta who was redeployed to help with Covid patients. The Foundation was originally established to procure and/or create PPE for those on the frontline at a time when resources were scarce, but has since developed into a comprehensive service to support the welfare of those in caring professions. The HWF provides a wide variety of services to healthcare workers (and those in care services), from childcare to mental health support. They have also recently established a memorial fund to support the education of children of healthcare workers lost to the virus. Rachel and Elaine hope that this appointment will allow more of the findings from the project to reach the people that can do something to help. They have already created a “Redeployment Guide” in conjunction with the foundation to provide evidence-based advice to those struggling with being redeployed.

You can find out more about the foundation here: https://healthcareworkersfoundation.org/

You can find out more about how the foundation started by reading Dr Pimenta’s excellent book “Duty of Care” (available everywhere, but Bookshop link here: https://uk.bookshop.org/books/duty-of-care-this-is-the-book-everyone-should-read-about-covid-19-kate-mosse/9781787395596)

CV19 Heroes research presented to the People’s Covid Inquiry live on Facebook

On the 2nd June, Rachel and Elaine were invited to present evidence to the People’s Covid Inquiry live on Facebook. The Inquiry is led by the campaign group Keep Our NHS Public, and they were keen to hear from the team about how working during the pandemic had been for frontline workers. We presented a legal document outlining our research and what we had found so far, and presented key aspects of the findings and responded to questions from the panel during the inquiry. The focus of the session was on the NHS and mental health (as well as the impact to children and families) and so we presented what we had learned so far about our participants’ experiences.

You can watch us present evidence here (from about 45 minutes in): https://www.youtube.com/watch?app=desktop&v=cp4tqXWOS3I&t=5s&ab_channel=KeepOurNHSPublic

March 2021 Updates: 12 months on

The CV19 Heroes project was started in March 2020 to track the wellbeing of frontline workers in the UK and Ireland (two countries with different political and public health strategies during the pandemic). So far, we’ve conducted two large surveys that ran from late March to May 2020, and October to November 2020; and we also had three waves of follow-up every two weeks for those who signed up after the initial baseline study; and then we conducted interviews with 38 frontline workers in the UK and Ireland to learn more about their experiences in detail during June and July 2020.

Here is a brief outline of our plan going forward:

  • We will close the 12-month follow-up survey in April, the more participants we can get the better! If you took part in earlier phases and you would like to take part in the 12-month follow up survey, please contact us at cv19study@glos.ac.uk. We would love to get as many of your voices heard as possible.
  • We have a number of forthcoming articles exploring similarities and differences between workers in different types of jobs and organisations in terms of how they responded to working during the first and second waves of the pandemic, and also, another piece where we consider the broader social factors that have influenced frontline workers’ wellbeing and burnout levels. Watch this space!

If you have feedback or suggestions for us, please do not hesitate to contact us via email: cv19study@glos.ac.uk

Thank you to all who have supported the project, and particular thanks to all frontline workers who have participated so far.

All the best from Rachel and Elaine, and all the CV19 Heroes team!

End of 2020 Updates:

We are delighted to end the year with some good news from the CV19 Heroes Project.

The first paper from the CV19 Heroes project has been rigorously peer-reviewed and has been accepted to the journal, Frontiers in Psychology. The article is currently being copy-edited but you can read more here: Abstract. The full article will be freely available to all who wish to read it online. You can also hear Dr. Rachel Sumner talk about this study and key findings here. Thank you to all the 1300+ frontline workers who took part in this first study – we will be sending you a newsletter very soon with a summary of those findings.

Recently, these findings were used to brief the UK parliament and included in an official report written by the Parliamentary Office for Science and Technology (POST) about the mental health impacts of Covid-19 on NHS workers in the UK. You can read the full POST report here.

The second article from the CV19 Heroes project, offering a thematic analysis of 38 interviews with frontline workers in the UK and Ireland, has been submitted for peer-review at an international psychology journal. We hope to receive feedback on this article in the new year. Thank you to Sam, Natasha and Sarah for conducting interviews during the summer. Also, sincere thanks to the 38 interviewees who so openly and generously shared their experiences of working on the frontline. Reading and studying the interview transcripts has been a truly humbling experience.

During the second lockdown, we reopened the CV19 Heroes survey (a slightly modified version) to try to get a more diverse sample of frontline workers in Ireland and the UK, and to include workers who were not deemed ‘frontline’ in the first lockdown but who became labelled as ‘frontline’ during the second lockdown. This survey has now closed and these findings will be analysed and reported early next year.

The next priority for the CV19 Heroes project is to better understand how working through the pandemic has impacted resilience, burnout and wellbeing levels across different occupational sectors and jobs. This is a work-in-progress!

We wish all our participants and supporters a very happy, peaceful and healthy Christmas and holiday period. Thank you to all frontline workers in the UK and Ireland who have worked extremely hard during such difficult circumstances. Our hope is that by reporting your experiences, through survey findings and interviews, that our research will lead to efforts to improve the welfare of frontline and essential workers during future societal crises. For now, we hope you all manage to get a break over the coming weeks.

Goodbye for now. Rachel and Elaine will report back to you in January with the latest developments from the CV19 Heroes project.

October 2020 Updates:

  • We are delighted to announce that first installment of research findings from the CV19 Heroes project has been used to brief the UK parliament on the impact of COVID-19 on frontline workers in the NHS (i.e., National Health Service) in the UK. We sincerely hope this research will lead to positive changes that reduce burnout and increase the wellbeing of frontline workers during future waves & future crises. You can read the full report compiled by POST (Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology) here: https://post.parliament.uk/mental-health-impacts-of-covid-19-on-nhs-healthcare-staff/ The Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology aimed to bridge gaps between science and policy.
  • The six-month follow-up study was launched. The purpose of this follow-up study is to track the mental health and wellbeing of frontline workers (both health and non-health workers) in the UK and Ireland over time and since the outbreak of the pandemic. So far, 320 frontline workers have taken part in this study. Thank you very much! There is still time to take part, but be quick! For the link to the survey, check your email inbox or contact us via our email address: cv19study@glos.ac.uk
  • Thirty-eight interviews with frontline workers have been transcribed and analysed using thematic analysis. This highly detailed and rich information has been written up and is almost ready to submit to a scientific journal for peer-review. We are very excited to share this work with you in the coming weeks and months.
  • We submitted our first article from the CV19 Heroes project back in in June and we are still awaiting peer and editor feedback. The peer-review process is often slow however, this is even slower than usual. The peer-review system is reliant on other academics giving up their free time to (anonymously) review new scientific work – unfortunately, with the advent of COVID-19, many academics are also struggling to keep up with work demands due to increased caring responsibilities and illness, as well as dealing with other personal challenges. We are hopeful that we receive feedback soon so that we can publish this work very soon.

September 2020 Updates:

  • We submitted our first manuscript from the CV19 Heroes project in June 2020. While we wait patiently for feedback from the journal, you can read the pre-print of this manuscript here: https://psyarxiv.com/4tp35/ This paper focuses on how frontline workers fared in the UK and Ireland during the first surge of COVID-19 infections, and how each respective national political context plays a role in influencing the psychological response of frontline workers.
  • We were delighted to receive two small pots of funding (details below) over recent months which has helped us to fund some research assistants to conduct many in-depth interviews with our participants. Thank you to the University of Gloucestershire, we very much appreciate this financial help!

Successful: Application for University of Gloucestershire Internal Research Grant Programme 2020 (Research Priority Area: Sport, Exercise, Health and Wellbeing) small grant award (£4978)

Successful: Application for University of Gloucestershire Internal Research Grant Programme 2020 (Research Priority Area: Sport, Exercise, Health and Wellbeing) small grant award (£5008)

  • Over 30 frontline workers in the UK and Ireland have been interviewed by our highly competent team of interviewers – Sam, Natasha and Sarah. The data has been transcribed and analysis is in process. Once we are 100% happy with the analysis, the write-up will be submitted to a journal for peer-review before being published as an academic journal article.
  • The 6-month follow-up survey will be kicking off on October 1st 2020. Details of this survey will be sent to all participants who completed the first phase of this research and who have ‘opted in’ for follow up studies. Thank you so much to all our amazing participants who give up some of their precious time to compete our surveys so far.
  • We have also been examining the patterns of survey responses from our participants who are working in different occupational groups (ranging from doctors, cleaners, care workers, police and many more), and also, how organisations responded to the pandemic and how this in turn, impacted frontline worker wellbeing during the first surge of COVID-19 cases. Once written-up this analysis will also be submitted to an academic journal for peer-review.
  • Other exciting updates are in the pipeline, but we cannot share just yet!

May 2020 Updates:

We have now stopped recruiting participants for our survey study (Phase One), but we are still collecting follow-up data. Please continue to complete surveys that are emailed to you. Interviews with frontline workers will take place during May and June.

The CV19 Heroes Project in the Media:

Preliminary findings from the CV19 Heroes Project featured in the Guardian on 26th May 2020
Dr Elaine Kinsella features recently in a piece about the changing face of heroes for Waitrose Weekend
The CV19 Heroes Project Featured in a recent article for The Journal
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