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What is the aim of NHS CHECK?

NHS CHECK is a major study of the COVID-19 pandemic on the short- and long-term health and wellbeing of all staff working within partner NHS Trusts including King’s College Hospital Foundation Trust, Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust, South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust, selected other NHS Trusts and the Nightingale Hospitals. It will also explore the various support programmes that staff may have participated in. This information is important, so that we can identify what has or has not worked for you, and better support you at this challenging time and in the future.

How do I take part?

If you have received an email inviting you to take part, follow the link to the survey in that email. You can also click here to take part.

What will the study involve?

This study involves completing a very short survey now, and other optional surveys in 3, 12- and 18-months’ time.

If you would like to take part, you will be asked to register via your email address and fill in an online consent form. You will then be given a link to a very brief online survey. You can save the survey and come back later to complete.

  1. The very brief survey (5-10 minutes) collects information on your contact details, occupation, demographics like your age, support available to you, your general health and your experiences of the COVID-19 pandemic. You will also have the option to fill in a longer survey (an additional 20-30 minutes) if you would like. This includes some more details about your work, and your direct and indirect experience of the COVID-19 pandemic, resilience and wellbeing. If you have consented to providing an email address to register, you will be able to save the survey and come back later to complete it.

    Both the very brief survey and the longer survey will be followed by repeated surveys at 3, 12 and 18 months, although these timings are approximate depending on the duration of the crisis. These follow up surveys are very important as they will help us better understand any medium or longer term impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on the health and wellbeing of NHS staff. This information is essential to ensuring the right support services are in place, should they be needed.

  2. Some staff have had access to a range of supports during the outbreak e.g. access to resources on self-care, wellbeing hubs, peer support groups and access to mental health professionals providing team/individual support. We want to find out about your experience of these staff support interventions or resources if you received them. We have an additional survey module asking about these. This will go live around 2-4 weeks after the first brief online survey. You can find more information in our Participant Information Sheet.. To take part in these surveys you will need to have registered with your email address and have completed the initial very brief survey.
I completed the questionnaire for this study but have been asked to complete it again.

You may have heard about the study from different sources, but you only need to complete the baseline survey once.

Why do I need to complete follow-up surveys?

The importance of doing it again in the coming months is that it is the only way to monitor changes over time, and in particular picking up longer-term changes health and wellbeing should they develop. This has been a major event for many of us, and it would be foolish not to be able to find out whether there are any longer lasting effects once the initial crisis has passed.

Why do you need to ask questions about my mental health, and about my personal life?

We are interested in learning about a variety of potential problems that our NHS community may be experiencing during the COVID-19 pandemic. Most people now accept that these might affect not just physical, but also mental health, personal and working life. Again it would be foolish not to ask about all of these, especially if more support is needed even when this is all over. f you do not wish to answer certain questions or feel uncomfortable in doing so, please feel free to skip them.

Who is being asked to take part?

We are inviting members of staff working within King’s Health Partners (King’s College Hospital Foundation Trust - KCH, Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust - GSTT, and South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust - SLaM), staff working in selected partner NHS Trusts and those working in the Nightingale Hospitals to take part in NHS CHECK. We expect that our invitation will go out to around 60,000 staff. The more people take part the more we can be sure that our findings are accurate and, represent a wide range of individual experiences, and the more likely it will be that the findings will be acted on.

I have been contacted about taking part in this study. How did you get my contact details?

Eligible participants have been identified via the HR systems of participating NHS Trusts. We have used existing, dedicated group emails operated on a regular basis to distribute emails to KHP staff at GSTT, KCH, and SLaM, and similar systems as they develop at the Nightingales. This is the best way to explain the study and invite people to take part.

Who is on the research team?

The original drive for this study has come from frontline NHS staff. So the research team includes frontline staff working at King’s College Hospital, St Thomas’ Hospital, the South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust, Barts Health NHS Trust, Royal Devon & Exeter NHS Foundation Trust, Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust and University Hospital of Wales. Individuals come from a combination of clinical and research backgrounds and are led by Chief Investigator, Professor Sir Simon Wessely, together with co-Chief Investigators, Professor Neil Greenberg, Professor Matthew Hotopf, Professor Reza Razavi, Professor Rosalind Raine and Dr Sharon Stevelink. You can read more about our team here.

Some of my friends and family want to take part. Can I send them the survey?

This study is for staff working within a partner NHS Trust or Nightingale Hospital. They do not need to be directly employed by the NHS as many ancillary colleagues have different employers. It is very important we reach these colleagues too. They must however work within one of our study NHS Trusts or settings (King’s College London NHS Foundation Trust, Guy’s and St Thomas’s NHS Foundation Trust, South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust and the Nightingale Hospitals in London, Cardiff, Exeter, Leeds/Harrogate and Manchester). We encourage as many eligible people to take part, so please pass on details of the study to individuals you think may be interested in taking part and are working in one of these organisations.

I have not had COVID-19 (coronavirus), is this study still relevant to me?

Yes, absolutely. It is for all staff. We want to hear from everybody. That includes those who have been unwell or are still unwell with the virus, but the survey is definitely for the entire NHS community in the participating sites.

Is the study voluntary?

Yes, the study is entirely voluntary. You are under no obligation to take part and choosing not to participate will not disadvantage you in any way. No one except the immediate study team will know who does and does not participate. However, for the findings to be valid and useful we need to have as many responses as possible, so please do consider contributing. Your time supporting this will be so valuable for all our NHS colleagues.

How is the project being funded?

The research is organised and funded by King’s College London and King’s Health Partners. Should other funders join as the study progresses, that information will be shared with you.

Will the information I provide be confidential?

The security and confidentiality of your data is our highest priority. Your data will be processed in accordance with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). All the data collected as part of this project will be regarded as strictly confidential and will be held securely. All data for analysis will be anonymised. In reporting on the research findings, we will not reveal the names of any participants.

All research staff are provided with training regarding GDPR and King’s College London standards for handling data. Any data provided electronically will be stored on a database on a restricted server only accessible by specified members of the research team who have been given authorisation to access the database.

No study data will be available in any identifiable format to anyone outside of the immediate research team. Employers and professional bodies will not have access to any identifiable information.

You can find more information in our Participant Information Sheet.

Will I get to see the results of this study?

Yes, findings from this research will be disseminated within the participating NHS Trusts and Nightingale Hospitals through communication channels including websites and staff newsletters. We may also send you a summary of the results via email. Research findings will also be disseminated to NHS Trusts nationally via professional networks and professional bodies. In addition, findings will be published in academic journals, at conferences and stakeholder meetings and summaries will be placed on the dedicated study website. We will be working with members of the public and our staff across our NHS sites to ensure the findings reach everyone involved.

What are the benefits of taking part?

There is no direct benefit to participants and no incentives will be given as part of participation, however we think there will be some indirect benefits. People often value the opportunity to anonymously share their experiences and feelings. Furthermore, people may feel keen to contribute to research concerning such an unprecedented situation as the COVID-19 pandemic. Most importantly by participating, you will also be contributing to findings that will help inform staff health and wellbeing strategies and services for NHS Trust staff and Nightingale Hospitals during and following the current pandemic. If you are reading this, you are already helping patients, carers and families. But this work will also benefit the staff in the NHS, now and in the future.

Does the study have ethical approval?

This study has been approved by the Health Research Authority, reference number (282686). You can find more details in our Participant Information Sheet.

Are there any disadvantages of taking part?

We have not identified any disadvantages other than giving up a little bit of your time. We are however aware that answering some questions about an unprecedented and stressful experience could potentially be difficult for some people, and may cause distress. If that is the case, and you would like some support, the best thing is to reach out to someone you trust. Additional sources of support can be found here, and below:

  1. Local Trust support services such as the SLaM staff support line, King’s Wellbeing Hub and Occupational Health led psychological support at Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Trust and psychological support provided as part of the staff health and wellbeing strategy across the Nightingale Hospitals and other participating NHS Trusts.
  2. Broader NHS services including General Practitioners and Improving Access to Psychological Therapy Services.
  3. Third sector helplines including the Samaritans (Tel: 116 123 Email: [email protected]) and other nationally provided resources.
What if I want to withdraw my consent?

You can withdraw yourself from the study anytime until the end of the study without giving a reason by contacting a member of the research team. With regards to the online survey and intervention evaluation module, you can stop participating simply by stopping completion of the surveys. You can also email the study team using the dedicated research team email address ([email protected]) to indicate you are no longer willing to participate in the study. We aim to publish non-identifiable data in brief summaries within weeks of data collection. We will write our reports in a way that no-one can work out that you took part in the study.

Where can I look for more information?

If you want more details about this study, like what will happen if you take part, or more information about how your data will be handled, have a look at our Participant Information Sheet.

I still have questions about the study, who can I get in touch with?

You can contact the research team at [email protected]. We aim to respond to all queries in 2 working days.

Our Team

NHS CHECK is a collaborative effort led by a research team at King’s College London and King’s Health Partners supported by expert clinicians, frontline staff and researchers across different NHS Trusts and Universities, and the NIHR Maudsley Biomedical Research Centre.

Simon Wessely

Simon Wessely

Professor of Psychological Medicine at King’s College London, President of the Royal College of Psychiatrists, a consultant psychiatrist at King’s College Hospital and at the Maudsley Hospital, where he practices liaison psychiatry. Professor Wessely’s principal research interests are the nature and treatment of medically unexplained symptoms and syndromes, clinical epidemiology and military health. He has published more than 650 peer reviewed academic papers in these fields and has received over £20million in research funding. As well as being Head of the Academic Department of Psychological Medicine at King’s College London (to 2014), he has founded or co-founded research units focusing on chronic fatigue syndrome, gulf war illnesses, clinical trial methods and military health. As a result of his research work he has been appointed as a Foundation Senior Investigator for England’s National Institute for Health Research, he serves on numerous government committees for the Department of Health, Cabinet Office and Ministry of Defence and he sits on the World Health Organization work group for stress-related disorders.

Matthew Hotopf

Matthew Hotopf

Professor Matthew Hotopf is Vice Dean of Research at the Institute of Psychiatry Psychology and Neuroscience, King’s College London, and Director of the South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust National Institute of Health Research Biomedical Research Centre (BRC). Matthew’s main area of research is in the grey area between medicine and psychiatry, exploring the interaction between mental and physical health, and uses “big data” approaches to understand this interface better. He works clinically as a liaison psychiatrist at St Christopher’s Hospice, is an NIHR Senior Investigator and Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences. He was awarded a CBE in June 2018.

Reza Razavi

Reza Razavi

Professor Reza Razavi is the Vice President & Vice-Principal of Research at King's College London and the Director of Research at King’s Health Partners. He is also the Director of the King’s Wellcome Trust EPSRC Centre For Medical Engineering. The main focus of his research is imaging and biomedical engineering related to cardiovascular disease.

Neil Greenberg

Neil Greenberg

Professor Neil Greenberg is a consultant academic, occupational and forensic psychiatrist based at King’s College London. Neil served in the United Kingdom Armed Forces for more than 23 years and has deployed, as a psychiatrist and researcher, to a number of hostile environments including Afghanistan and Iraq. At King’s Neil leads on a number of military mental health projects and is a principal investigator within a nationally funded Health Protection Research unit. He also chairs the Royal College of Psychiatrists (RCP) Special Interest Group in Occupational Psychiatry. Neil has published more than 250 scientific papers and book chapters and has been the Secretary of the European Society for Traumatic Stress Studies, the President of the UK Psychological Trauma Society and Specialist Advisor to the House of Commons Defence Select Committee.

Sharon Stevelink

Sharon Stevelink

Dr Sharon Stevelink is a Lecturer in Epidemiology and she is part of the Department of Psychological Medicine and King’s Centre for Military Health Research, King’s College London. She is driving a research agenda exploring occupational mental health. She is especially interested in how working in high risk occupations, such as the military, police force, fire brigade and ambulance services, impacts on the mental health of people working in these jobs, what can be done to foster resilience and how help-seeking for mental health problems can be encouraged. Her research findings informed policy and service delivery concerning the mental health provision for serving and ex-serving military personnel.Further, she is the Principal Investigator of the Occupation and PsychiaTrIc Morbidity consortiUM (OPTIMUM). This consortium drives data linkages and uses routinely collected mental health and other data to advance our understanding about the relationships of welfare and occupational status with mental disorders, treatment, well-being and recovery.

Rosalind Raine

Rosalind Raine

Rosalind is Professor and Head of the Department of Applied Health Research at UCL, a public health medicine doctor, Director of NIHR ARC North Thames (Europe’s largest partnership of world leading applied health and care researchers) and Vice Director of NIHR Cancer Policy Research Unit.She is recognised as a world leading applied researcher with expertise in the evaluation of major health service/ public health change, of digital health innovations and of determinants of widespread implementation of evidence based care. She integrates diverse techniques including complex data analysis and ethnography to examine the impact of health/public health interventions on health outcomes, health inequalities, health care quality and costs. Rosalind is an elected member of NIHR Strategy Board and of the Lancet Commission on The Future of the NHS. She advises on health policy internationally, nationally and regionally; chaired the UK Heads of Academic Departments of Public Health (representing Departments at over 30 universities) and sat on the HEFCE Research Excellence Framework Panel. She was elected a Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences, selected as an NIHR Senior Investigator and, by NIHR as one of the countries ‘leading edge scientists’. She was also selected by the British Medical Association as one of 29 national role models in academic medicine. She has been awarded four personal MRC/NIHR Fellowships.

Co-Investigators and collaborators:

Dr Sean Cross, Professor Chris Dickens, Dr Amy Dewar, Dr Mary Docherty, Dr Sarah Dorrington, Dr Sam Gnanapragasam, Professor Damien Longson, Dr Ira Madan, Dr Isabel McMullen, Dr Dominic Murphy, Dr Martin Parsons, Dr Catherine Polling, Prof Anne Marie Rafferty, Prof Anthony David, Professor Tayyeb Tahir, Dr Peter Trigwell.

Project Partners:

Cardiff Nightingale Hospital, Exeter Nightingale Hospital, Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust, Harrogate Nightingale Hospital, King’s College Hospital, King’s Health Partners, London ExCeL Nightingale Hospital, Manchester Nightingale Hospital, NHS England and NHS Quality Improvement, South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust, UK Psychological Trauma Society.

Additional contributors:

Gabriella Bergin-Cartwright, Nicol Bergou, Danielle Lamb, Haifa Issa, Dr Howard Burdett, Rupa Bhundia, Dr Ewan Carr, Melanie Chesnokov, Dr Katrina Davis, Dr John Hodsoll, Dr Daniel Leightley, Lucy O’Neill, David Pernet, Danai Serfioti and Alice Wickersham.


This work was supported by seed funding from the King’s Together Fund and King’s College London. The King’s Together Fund is part of the King’s Together Multi and Interdisciplinary Research Scheme that is funded by the Wellcome Trust Institutional Strategic Support Fund. The study also received seed funding from the NIHR Maudsley Biomedical Research Centre and the NIHR Health Protection Research Unit in Emergency Preparedness and Response.