23 July 2020

Monitoring and addressing the needs of members has been a priority for the RCSLT since the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak. Therefore, we were pleased to invite RCSLT members to take part in a series of surveys evaluating the experiences of healthcare professionals during the pandemic, conducted by Research by Design starting in May 2020.

More than 2,400 RCSLT members responded to the first survey in the series, revealing a number of trends when it comes to the wellbeing of SLTs, SLTAs and student SLTs in the current climate.

Nine out of 10 members report that they have been working during the pandemic. For most, work is ‘unpredictable’ and ‘emotionally challenging’, especially for those working directly with COVID-19 patients. Those not working with service users are more likely to describe the work environment as ‘quiet’ and ‘lonely’.

Concern for family and friends is the factor most impacting members’ wellbeing at this time, along with the challenges of social distancing and unfamiliar ways of working.

Compared to other healthcare workers surveyed, RCSLT members are more likely to have been redeployed, and have slightly higher anxiety levels, but they are more likely to be optimistic for the future.

Newly qualified practitioners (NQPs) are more likely to have suffered a decline in their wellbeing than other members. Many report concerns about working beyond their skill level or scope of experience.

Students list concerns over placements and social isolation.

There is a significantly higher incidence of NHS members citing concern for the health of patients and colleagues, low morale and inadequate leadership at work, compared to non-NHS members.

The RCSLT wellbeing working group is meeting to consider the next steps for using this survey data. If you have ideas for how the RCSLT could support members’ wellbeing, please email lucy.adamson@rcslt.org.

Take a look at our information and resources on wellbeing, resilience and self care during COVID-19.