Community Health and Social Care Workers' Attitudes to Working during Pandemic Influenza

Pandemic influenza will put all healthcare services in the UK under severe strain, and if the response to a pandemic is to be effective, it is important to understand the personal commitment that healthcare workers of all types would be likely to make towards working during such a period of national emergency. This research is funded by West Midlands NHS and is an extension to an ongoing project (funded by NIHR RfPB Programme) investigating NHS workers’ attitudes towards working during an influenza pandemic. It focuses particularly on nursing home staff, home carers and meals direct employees in both private and council-run community and social care services. These non-NHS workers will be crucial in providing a frontline response to a pandemic, since many vulnerable and dependent individuals with healthcare needs are now cared for outside of the NHS. These individuals rely heavily on the continued functioning of community and social care services, and the requirement for such services to provide care is likely to become even more acute during an influenza pandemic, when large numbers of people who cannot be treated in hospitals will depend on community and social care services to make up any shortfall in care provision. 

The project comprises an empirical study of a sample of CHSCWs in the West Midlands to survey the opinions of these workers about their current attitudes towards working during a pandemic, with a view to identifying the factors associated with their response. If these factors (positive or negative) can be determined, it may be possible to predict how CHSCWs will respond during a pandemic and the ways that patient care can be improved by the implementation of contingency measures to address these barriers to working and to help change the attitudes of those CHSCWs who might be identified as reluctant to work. 

The research on the project is led by Dr Heather Draper of the University of Birmingham Centre for Biomedical Ethics, and the project research fellow is Dr Sarah Damery (Department of Primary Care Clinical Sciences). 

For more information, contact:

Dr Sarah Damery
s.l.damery@bham.ac.uk 
0121 414 3343