Informa Markets

Author Bio ▼

Safety and Health Practitioner (SHP) is first for independent health and safety news.
November 9, 2012

Get the SHP newsletter

Daily health and safety news, job alerts and resources

A&E staff helped to combat stress Marines-style

Emergency medical staff at Wales’ biggest hospital are using techniques used by the Royal Marines to help colleagues cope with the stress of working in A&E.

The Stress and Trauma Assessment of Risk (STAR) pilot at University Hospital of Wales is believed to be the first time the peer-support programme has been used in an A&E environment. It is based on methods used by the Royal Marines to help soldiers support one another with the mental rigours of their job.

The one-year pilot was launched to coincide with National Stress Awareness Day, which took place earlier this week, and is a partnership between the Emergency Unit, Traumatic Stress Service and Employee Wellbeing Service at Cardiff and Vale University Health Board.

Commenting on the scheme, Neil Roberts, a consultant clinical psychologist at the Health Board, said: “We think this is the first time that it has been used in an emergency-medicine environment.

“It was developed by the Royal Marines and has been used by a number of Police forces and Fire services too. [It] helps staff identify the signs of stress and trauma in colleagues and equips them to engage with them – offering support or helping them access other support services within the health board, if needed.”

Clare Wright, head of the Health Board’s Employee Wellbeing service, said a survey of Emergency Unit (EU) staff had shown that they wanted more support to deal with the mental side of their role.

She said: “EU staff, in particular, can face very stressful or traumatic situations on a daily basis – whether that is treating a seriously injured casualty, being verbally or physically abused, or losing a patient.

“They have always had the support of their managers and colleagues. What this new pilot hopes to do is to help staff spot the signs of stress and trauma and allow them to support colleagues and, if necessary, help them access the support systems already in place and take away the stigma of asking for help.”

Sue Wood, a staff nurse, is one of those trained to support her colleagues. She said it is not just serious injuries that can distress staff but the stories of those they are caring for as well, adding: “Even if we’re only able to help one of our colleagues, it will have been worthwhile.”

The pilot will be assessed and could be expanded into other areas of the Health Board.

Related Topics

Notify of

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments