Health Care Professionals within a Community Substance Misuse Service: An exploration of the impact of Covid-19.

Abigail Reay, Katherine Swainston

Research output: Contribution to conferencePosterpeer-review


Substance Misuse services were categorised as essential by the World Health Organisation during the COVID-19 global pandemic (WHO, 2020). Accordingly, staff working within substance misuse services continue to support patients with their psychological, physical and social needs. Front line healthcare workers are at an increased risk of testing positive for COVID-19 (Misra-Hebert et al, 2020) and have been found to be more likely to experience high levels of insomnia, anxiety, and depression during the pandemic (Zhang et al, 2020). This study aimed to explore experiences of healthcare staff working in a community substance misuse service in the North East of England during the COVID-19 pandemic. A qualitative approach using semi-structured interviews and thematic analysis was implemented. Four core themes were developed from analysis: Client Contact, Staff Wellbeing, Service User Compliance and Assessing Risk. Staff expressed mixed views in regard to the reduced number of in person appointments. It was suggested that service user engagement appeared to increase with the use of telephone appointments however assessing physical presentation was described as ‘challenging’. In regard to wellbeing, some staff reported feeling safe in the office and when working with patients, whereas others described the contrary. Additionally, health care professionals questioned if the service users were complying with the government guidelines in terms of social distancing and self-isolation. Future recommendations for practise within community substance misuse services could include the use of telephone appointments to increase the engagement of hard to reach patients. Additionally, the opinions of health care professionals working in front line services should be considered, particularly in the event of a global pandemic.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 8 Jun 2021
EventPsyPAG 2021 Annual Conference -
Duration: 29 Jul 202129 Jul 2021


ConferencePsyPAG 2021 Annual Conference


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