To deliver high quality patient care, the NHS needs staff that are healthy, well and at work. Looking after the health and wellbeing of staff directly contributes to the delivery of quality patient care.
Developing a sustainable health and wellbeing approach needs strong and clear leadership, supported by a solid strategy that is continually developing and is underpinned by a proactive and engaged approach.
Research shows that where NHS trusts prioritise staff health and wellbeing and actively engage with staff to develop work in this area, levels of engagement increase, as does staff morale, loyalty, innovation, productivity, all resulting in higher quality patient care.
The NHS cannot deliver care without its staff and depends on having a healthy and productive workforce. Line managers are key to facilitating open communication with their staff, and this can play a huge role in keeping staff well, motivated, feeling valued and empowered to perform to their full potential and provide high quality patient care.
Tools and resources to support the health and wellbeing of staff
SPF partner organisations have developed some useful tools and resources, to help support the health and wellbeing of healthcare staff.
In November 2021, NHS England and NHS Improvement (NHSEI) launched a redesigned version of the NHS health and wellbeing framework. NHSEI worked closely with the SPF’s Workforce Issues Group on the redesign. The framework helps organisations identify the health and wellbeing needs of staff, plan and deliver appropriate support and interventions, and evaluate their impact. The framework is available on NHS England's website.
- Guidance on prevention and management of stress at work - updated guidance was produced by the Health, Safety and Wellbeing Partnership Group of the NHS Staff Council and can be accessed via the NHS Employers website. It aims to enable managers and employees at all levels to support colleagues experiencing stress.
- Headspace - a science-backed app in mindfulness and meditation, providing unique tools and resources to help reduce stress, build resilience, and aid better sleep. This app is free to all NHS staff with an NHS email address until 31 December 2022.
- How are you feeling NHS? toolkit - an emotional wellbeing toolkit from NHS Employers explaining the contributors to decreased emotional wellbeing and shows how to encourage improvements.
- Mental health in the workplace - a resource from NHS Employers providing tools and resources to help you make positive improvements to mental wellbeing in the workplace.
- Domestic violence - a resource from NHS Employers offering insight into how domestic violence can affect your staff and what you can do to support staff.
- Liberate - an app offering culturally sensitive and diverse meditations curated for the black, Asian and minority ethnic (BME) community. It is now available free to all staff in the NHS.
- Mental Health at Work has developed a comprehensive guide to supporting mental health and work, including documents, guides, tips, videos, courses, podcasts, templates and information from key organisations across the UK.
- Second Victim Support - a resource for clinicians who are involved in a patient safety incident, their colleagues and the organisations they work for.
- Mind, the mental health charity, has developed a number of resources to help support yourself and colleagues who are experiencing mental health issues at work.
- The Working Carer’s Passport can be used if you’re a carer, or supporting a working carer in your organisation to have a conversation about caring responsibilities. Access practical tools, useful resources and further support.
- Public Health England developed a free online toolkit which asks five simple questions to help you manage and maintain your mental health.
- The GMC has published a new independent report: Caring for doctors, Caring for patients which looks into the wellbeing of doctors and medical students. The report aims to help deliver safe, supportive and inclusive environments, and compassionate cultures across the UK.
- NHS employers has developed some useful information regarding reasonable adjustments in the workplace following the introduction of the Workforce Disability Equality Standard (WDES). The information outlines how employers can support all disabled staff through careful consideration of the individuals needs when implementing any reasonable adjustments in the workplace.
- The British Medical Association (BMA) has developed a new charter to support the mental wellbeing of doctors and medical students. The charter sets out the steps employers can take to implement a supportive culture and develop a wellbeing strategy, as well as to encourage a healthy workplace and tackle stigma around mental ill-health.
- NHS Employers has a dedicated web section to support employees going through the menopause in the workplace with information on how managers can provide support and help tackle the stigma surrounding the menopause.
- The BMA's supporting health and wellbeing at work makes recommendations for improving the health and wellbeing of doctors.
- The Welsh NHS Confederation has created a resource on arts, health and wellbeing, detailing how arts engagement supports positive health outcomes.
- The Zero Suicide Alliance is a collaboration of NHS trusts, businesses and individuals who are all committed to suicide prevention in the UK and beyond. The alliance is ultimately concerned with improving support for people contemplating suicide by raising awareness of and promoting free suicide prevention training which is accessible to all.