COVID-19: Most NHS staff worry they’ll infect those they live with

Connor IbbetsonData Journalist
Eir NolsoeData Journalist
April 15, 2020, 11:00 AM UTC

Three quarters of NHS staff fear for their own health and most are also worried about infecting those they live with, prompting 34% to change their housing arrangements

NHS staff have continued to raise concerns over the availability of personal protective equipment to prevent the spread of COVID-19 as they work on the front lines in the battle against the virus.

New YouGov polling of NHS workers now reveals that the vast majority are concerned for their own health, and others have had to alter their living arrangements to protect those they live with from the virus.

Most NHS workers are worried for their own health

Overall, 78% of NHS staff say they are worried for their personal health due to COVID-19, with 28% saying they are very worried. Only 22% say they aren’t worried for their health.

Nearly half (46%) of nurses and midwives (many of whom are changing roles to treat coronavirus patients) say they are very worried for their own health due to the outbreak.

But more are worried about the health of those at home

But it’s not just themselves NHS staff have to worry about, with many staff living with friends and family, 88% say they are also worried for the health of those at home.

43% of NHS staff say they are very worried about the health of those they live with, 15% more than those who are very worried for their own health. Among registered nurses and midwives, this deep concern for others health rises to over half (51%) with another 40% somewhat worried.

Only 12% of staff say they are worried about the health of those they live with.

Some NHS staff have had to avoid their own families and housemates as a result of COVID-19

With so many NHS staff concerned for the others in their households, some have also had to alter their living arrangements – with the outbreak impacting a third (34%) of NHS staff living arrangements.

The figures includes 1% who have to live away from home and 3% where another member of the household has had to live somewhere else.

One in eight NHS workers (13%) say they avoid contact with other people in their home. In London where the coronavirus outbreak has been especially severe, this figure is much higher, with over a fifth (22%) of all healthcare workers saying they don’t see other people in their home.

Nearly a fifth of NHS staff also say the coronavirus outbreak has impacted their living arrangements in some other way.

As YouGov has reported, many NHS workers do not have access to adequate personal protective equipment (PPE) to prevent them from contracting coronavirus at work.

Among healthcare professionals who say PPE is ‘not very’ or ‘not at all’ available, 41% have had to adapt their living arrangements. This includes 1% living away from home, 4% who have a household member who is staying elsewhere and 23% avoiding other people in their home. One in six (17%) also say it has impacted their living situation in some other way.

Image: Getty

See full results here