World health day marked by looking after the wellbeing of NHS staff


A local NHS Trust is marking international world health day by focussing its attention on the health of its 2300 staff, launching a new information resource to help maintain and improve their physical and mental wellbeing.

Wednesday 7th April is not only world health day but it is also the middle of mental health action week (4th-11th April), organised by the Mental Health Foundation.

The specialist mental health and learning disability Trust provides NHS services to the people of Calderdale, Kirklees and Wakefield and its 2300 staff work hard to improve the wellbeing of local people. The new information resource helps staff to consider their own wellbeing, both in and out of the workplace, providing information on a range of initiatives undertaken by the Trust as well as comprehensive information and advice on healthy eating, exercise, smoking, stress, bullying and domestic violence.

Research shows that there is a clear link between good employee wellbeing and levels of productivity, motivation and sickness absence – directly improving the quality of care an NHS organisation is able to provide. The Trust hopes that by supporting staff to maintain and improve their own wellbeing, this will further increase the quality of care provided to local people.

Six months ago (in November 2009), the Boorman review was published, an independent report into the health and wellbeing of NHS staff. The report was commissioned by the Department of Health and was led by Dr Steve Boorman. The Government fully accepted the recommendations in the report which could help the NHS save up to £555 million and 3.4 million working days. The recommendations included NHS organisations having a prevention-focused health and wellbeing strategy in place for all staff.

Alan Davis, director of human resources and workforce development for the Trust, commented, "Our Trust has always been committed to promoting and working with staff to improve the wellbeing of our workforce. The Boorman review recommendations have strengthened this commitment. We have already taken part in a number of innovative initiatives to increase employee wellbeing, including offering physical health checks to staff as well as piloting a facilitated self-help computer programme that has helped staff who have experienced mild to moderate depression and anxiety.

This new resource will help staff have the wellbeing information they need at their fingertips, as well as signposting them towards other sources of information and support that can help maintain their wellbeing both in and out of work."

The new ‘wellbeing at work’ information resource is provided via the Trust’s internal website (intranet). It was developed by the Trust’s communications team (at no extra cost) using recognised and official sources of information. The resource is around 150 pages long and the links to national wellbeing agendas including Change4Life and Know your Limits as well as to local stop smoking groups, exercise schemes and harassment advisers.

Alan Davis said, "This is about working in partnership with our staff and supporting them to improve their health and wellbeing and maintain a safe working environment. We’re providing a range of advice about staying well; giving staff information to help them make choices that could improve both their physical and mental wellbeing. As the NHS we should certainly be leading by example and the Trust is fully committed to protecting the wellbeing of our workforce."

The Trust employs more than 1,700 clinical staff and around 600 staff who provide non-clinical support services. Staff work from over 40 sites as well as with people in their own homes. Staff include doctors, nurses, electricians, therapists, support workers, accountants, porters, secretaries and social workers.

World health day marked by looking after the wellbeing of NHS staff

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