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To have a problem with the covid-19 outbreak to be likened to war?

(44 Posts)
casualmum Fri 15-May-20 19:54:57

I was watching BBC news this morning and a health service adviser appeared saying that front-line NHS staff working Coronavirus should have the same psychological services available to them as soldiers coming back from war.
Talking about this with my husband, he was deeply offended. As he works within the armed forced and is from a family with an army background, he knows many people, family and friends who are still suffering from PTSD from wars and conflicts which happened years ago. Yet, a large number of them have not had the long term support they require.
I understand and respect every NHS worker risking their lives everyday to save others, but surely this is something that they should be trained to deal with. My brother has worked for the NHS for around ten years now and has become desensitised to most things a normal person would find traumatic. Yes, different people have different limits into what they find traumatic and different people have different ways of coping. But to me, there is a large difference between seeing someone die in a hospital bed, to seeing someone you work with being blown up or shot.
I'm sure the increase of patients is overwhelming for NHS staff at the moment, which can't be helped by a decline in staff. I can only imagine how overwhelmed NHS workers must feel, but to raise their hopes with psychological services that are supposed to be available to them after this pandemic has calmed down not only seems unfair to them, but unfair to the soldiers all around our country who have not received any kind of help from our government.


OP’s posts: |
meow1989 Fri 15-May-20 20:02:23

I think yab a little unreasonable. Death stays with you. It doesnt matter if you have seen one or hundreds, you remember them. A war zone is a very different environment to a hospital: I'm not saying either is better or worse but I imagine theres a degree of buisness as usual to the war environment (to be clear I dont mean seeing your fellow soldiers, or even the enemy for that matter blown up etc).

Hospitals in the UK are not war zones. Our doctors and nurses are not used to so many people dying alone, and are not used to such an acknowledged threat of contracting a life threatening disease themselves or taking it home to their loved ones. They also didnt ask for the pedestal that they've been put on or the pressure to save lives and be selfless that comes with it.

Our doctors and nurses were burning out with the workload before covid, I can only imagine what it's like now.

R1R2 Fri 15-May-20 20:25:10


casualmum Fri 15-May-20 20:29:32


I completely agree that a war zone and a hospital are two completely different environments! Which is why I think that they shouldn't be compared to each other. A nurse and a soldier go through more things in one day than I go through in my whole life, so I will never truly understand. However, with family and friends that work for both of these services, it seemed unfair to me to offer support to one and not fully to the other.
My husband found your comment 'theres a degree of buisness as usual to the war environment' very interesting. He admits that as a team what they see is often brushed off, but because of this it's more difficult to talk about and often repressed. When he couldn't come home for months he found it incredibly difficult to voice his feelings and it's uncommon to talk about distressing things that had happened to him or a colleague that had happened in the day. This makes me so thankful that my brother is able to come home everyday and facetime me when he has the time and is able to talk!

OP’s posts: |
zscaler Fri 15-May-20 20:30:57

YABU. It’s not a zero sum game. There should be more support for members of the armed forces and more support for NHS workers. Everybody loses when you play the game of ‘Who has it worse’.

malloryy Fri 15-May-20 20:34:30

yanbu. going to look up the article on BBC now!

bridgetreilly Fri 15-May-20 20:35:04

YANBU. It's not a war. It's nothing like a war.

People on the frontlines may well still be experiencing trauma and I have no doubt that some will get PTSD as a result. That still doesn't make it the same as a war. Things can just be different without one being worse or better than the other.

ambereeree Fri 15-May-20 20:36:02

You try working on the ward where doctors and nurses are overwhelmed and then tell us. Soldiers know they are being trained to go to war.

CherryPavlova Fri 15-May-20 20:38:28

As many healthcare workers have died as U.K. military in Iraq. They didn’t sign up for high risk service.

HappyHammy Fri 15-May-20 20:38:50

Doctors and nurses do deal with death every day but not at this level. They are seeing patients die despite all their efforts and also having to let people die when there is no longer any hope. We dont know how physically or mentally distressed cv patients become and the staff are the only face to face contact they have. They are risking their own lives without enough equipment, working excessive hours probably with few if any breaks, they are away from their own families. Plus they are also looking after non covid patients.

VioletCharlotte Fri 15-May-20 20:39:41

Sorry but I think yabu. It's not a competition about who is the most traumatised. I work for the NHS (not clinical) but I'm aware of what some of the staff have been experiencing and some of it's pretty horrific.

BudgieHammockBananaSmuggler Fri 15-May-20 20:39:49

surely this is something that they should be trained to deal with is equally something that could be applied to the armed forces I would think. But anyway, it’s not a race to the bottom. Relevant MH support should be available to all.

casualmum Fri 15-May-20 20:40:12

Just to clarify, I'm not saying one is worse than the other! I'm saying the armed forces has not been receiving support for years now and promising NHS staff the same kind of psychological support seems doubtful and ridiculous to me!

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user1471565182 Fri 15-May-20 20:40:54

Personally im getting a bit sick of people with connections to the army deciding what should and shouldnt be traumatic.

Ethelfleda Fri 15-May-20 20:41:42

YANBU and I even dislike the phrase ‘frontline’
Perhaps I am being unreasonable but this phrase itself conjure up imagines of war for me too.

Our MD referred to those of us still working (and not furloughed) as his ‘frontline’ staff the other week and I was a bit hmm (all WFH)

LagunaBubbles Fri 15-May-20 20:44:09

understand and respect every NHS worker risking their lives everyday to save others, but surely this is something that they should be trained to deal with

Thats quite offensive. And wrong. Nurses are human beings with emotions. And whilst we get used to caring for dying patients nothing can train you for some of the things I've seen.

LagunaBubbles Fri 15-May-20 20:45:31

*I'm saying the armed forces has not been receiving support for years now and promising NHS staff the same kind of psychological support seems doubtful and ridiculous to me!,

No you also said nurses should be "trained" to deal with what has happened.

HappyHammy Fri 15-May-20 20:46:10

They are seeing more than just someone dying in a hospital bed. These are friends, colleagues, children, frightened vulnerable patients, its not a competition. Anyone working on the front line should be offered support. Non trauma trained staff have cared for terrorist crime victims and disasters.

NotPayingAttention Fri 15-May-20 20:46:51

YANBU to think that soldiers coming home from battle and not receiving the mental health support they so very need is wrong. Of course it is and there have been plenty of campaigns in order to highlight this lacking. Whether they have worked or not I'm not sure, I have no experience in that area but it has been highlighted and because of that fact I would expect that things will have improved somewhat in the last few decades.

However I think YABVVU to try to minimise the mental health toll this situation will take on frontline healthcare staff, and somehow imply "well if soldiers don't get it, then why should healthcare staff, because their job isn't as traumatic".
We shouldn't try to pull everybody down to the same crappy level of lacking care, but highlighting the problems and seeking help for those who need it. This in turn will lead to improvements across the board as mental health problems will hopefully be taken more seriously in general.

It's wrong to suggest that a healthcare professional should just swallow down their distress just because they weren't out on the battlefield seeing their friends and colleagues killed by mortar attacks. There have been numerous (hundreds by now?) of deaths of working HCP's from covid. PPE is under threat and it is a real problem. We are all working under that stress which believe me is not something you expect to have to deal with going into the job, unlike going into the armed forces.

Sindragosan Fri 15-May-20 20:47:56

Mental health services have been underfunded for years, no matter which area you try to access it from. Everyone should be able to access mental health support in a timely manner, but its not going to change without serious investment into the service and training new staff etc.

Deciding who should and shouldn't need mental health care is massively unreasonable no matter where you work.

casualmum Fri 15-May-20 20:48:42


Soldiers know they are being trained to go to war.
Surely anyone working in a ward knows that they are going to encounter death at some point?

OP’s posts: |
NotPayingAttention Fri 15-May-20 20:50:53


As many healthcare workers have died as U.K. military in Iraq. They didn’t sign up for high risk service.

Wow shock

HappyHammy Fri 15-May-20 20:52:53

I think you should volunteer your services and see for yourself how difficult this has been for everyone.

CherryPavlova Fri 15-May-20 20:53:31

I know, it’s quite shocking and came up between two of our children- one a healthcare worker and one in military.

Mylittlepony374 Fri 15-May-20 20:54:21

My problem with the war reference is that there is some expectation that you will have casualties in war; that some soldiers will die. I worry that that equivalence then makes it somehow more palatable that healthcare staff die "on the front line" in " the war against Covid 19".
I believe all people in traumatic situations should get counselling support.

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