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Nurses and midwives under investigation are offered a support ‘buddy’

Posted on July 2021 By Jamie Southwell

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​A new support system is being introduced for nurses and midwives facing an investigation into their competency to practise.

Under the name ‘Buddy – Hold my hand’, a test campaign will be offering a one-to-one support ‘buddy’ to nurses and midwives being investigated to determine whether they can continue to work.

The trial is set to begin in September, run by the NMC Watch with funding from the mental health charity called the Laura Hyde Foundation.

Each healthcare professional who faces an investigation from the Nursing and Midwifery Council will be provided with a personal support ally, dedicated to assisting the worker across sets of sessions lasting up to 10 hours.

The ‘buddy’ given to the staff member will be a registrant with previous experience going through the fitness-to-practice steps.

Cathryn Watters, the Founder of the NMC Watch, discussed the purpose of the campaign saying, “The buddy is there not to make any judgement about the case but to virtually hold their hand through it”.

Starting in September, the pilot will last 12 months and allocate 10 ‘buddies’ across 30-50 registrant healthcare workers facing the fitness-to-practice decisions. However, if successful, the plan is to expand the campaign to a further spread of applicants.

Liam Barnes, Trustee Chair from the Laura Hyde Foundation, explained the reasoning behind the charity’s funding saying, “The people we support face regular traumatic situations in their daily work, however they do the job they love because they care.”

“When they experience a situation whereby that care is questioned, the impacts of this can be significant to their mental health often causing long term health impacts that must be proactively addressed at the start and not towards the end when it is too late.”

NMC Watch conducted a survey in 2019, revealing the detrimental effects being under investigation has on staff, such as negative reflection on self-worth, financial hardships, and imposter syndrome lasting longer than the proceeding.

Over the course of the last year, mental health issues have worsened for NHS workers, with a study finding 45% of doctors, nurses, and other healthcare staff to be suffering from a form psychological trauma due to the first wave of the pandemic.

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