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Chief Executive

Supporting our members

30 September 2020 | by Chief Executive

As we see Covid-19 infections rise and restrictions brought back in across the UK, I hope that everyone is looking after themselves and keeping well.

The last few weeks have been a stark reminder that this virus has not disappeared, and the problem that we’re facing up to is a long-term one that will require collective effort to overcome.

As it says in our most recent piece of Covid-19 guidance on the importance of community action and resilience in the response to Covid-19, this is a “global community event which has affected everyone in some way”.

For many that is through having contracted the virus, or knowing someone who has suffered its effects more seriously.

As so many of our members know, those working in healthcare have had to endure stressful conditions and burnout while working to save lives directly from the virus and keep the NHS functioning at the same time.

However, the difficulties that we’ve seen with students returning to universities in the past couple of weeks show the significant impact that the pandemic will continue to have across other sectors.

Pictures and stories of students being quarantined and potentially not allowed to return home over Christmas are rightly receiving the headlines right now, and our recent Covid-19 impact survey of academic staff and students highlights real concerns for this academic year and beyond.

We received almost 2,000 responses, and the academic staff who responded were nearly unanimous (97%) about the pandemic having had a negative impact on their workloads, and the majority (70%) believing it has compromised their ability to carry out research.

Research in psychology will be vital to understanding how we can encourage society’s recovery from Covid-19, so it’s extremely concerning that this is being affected. 

Our Research Board, led by Professor Daryl O’Connor, will be looking at how best we can support researchers at this time, including through the development of an online hub for research resources.

Psychology students highlighted concerns about a lack of careers resources in the survey, and there will be news on this from our ongoing member journey project in the very near future.

We know that financial pressures are increasing for everyone because of the pandemic, so I’m delighted to be able to announce that, at our recent Board of Trustees meeting, we agreed to freeze our membership fees for the third year in a row.

We’re extremely grateful for all of our members for continuing to be part of this community – if there’s any ways that you think we can be supporting you better during this time, please get in touch and let me know.

Finally, I want to say thank you to Kathryn Scott, our Director of Policy who is moving on next month to take up an exciting position with Lego in Denmark.

Kathryn has been a passionate advocate for psychology and been at the heart of our policy work, including the development of the BPS Senate, and I wish her all the best in her exciting new role.

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