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Support must be offered to NHS staff suffering swine flu stress

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Support and clinical services must be made available to NHS staff suffering stress and other psychosocial problems as a result of the swine flu outbreak, Department of Health guidance says.

The guidance says care must be provided that not only deals with the short-term stress of dealing with a major emergency, but also ensures that healthcare professionals adapt to and recover from adverse events and circumstances such as a pandemic.

Plans drawn up by NHS organisations must aim to reduce levels of immediate stress; provide training and social support; base interventions on staff with mild stress on psychosocial first aid; and arrange access to specialist services for those who are more seriously affected.

The DH guidance provides a six-level template for senior NHS staff to follow in drawing up plans to cope with the psychosocial effects of the swine flu outbreak.

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