South West Yorkshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, which provides mental health and learning disability services to people in Calderdale, Kirklees and Wakefield, has introduced a new fast track physiotherapy scheme to help staff maintain their physical wellbeing and avoid having to take time off sick.
Musculo-skeletal problems accounted for over 11% of staff absences at the Trust in 2009/2010 and it is the second most common reason, after mental health conditions, for staff to be referred to the occupational health department
The aim of the new fast track physiotherapy service is to help the Trust’s 2300 staff deal with any musculo-skeletal issues that they are experiencing through early identification of problems and treatment. The types of issues experienced include muscle strains and sprains, sciatica and tendinitis.
A physiotherapist will assess the problems that staff are facing and work with them over a number of sessions to treat the causes.
Helen Whitelam, head of occupational health said, "This new service will allow our staff to access the help they need quickly and easily. We want to help staff create a working environment that is safe and effective for them to operate in."
This new scheme will provide a number of benefits to staff and the Trust, including providing staff with access to treatment and advice easily. It will also help to reduce staff absence rates as the service will work with individual members of staff to create a working environment that is suitable for their individual needs therefore preventing problems recurring in the future.
Alan Davis, director of human resources and workforce development, said "Our Trust is committed to working with staff to improve their wellbeing. We are always looking at ways to improve staff working environments and remove any obstacles that are preventing them reaching their full potential within a role. To ensure that our staff can continue to provide consistent and high-quality care in our communities, the Trust will constantly look to employ initiatives like this that will help staff combat any problems they are facing that impact on their working practices."
The Trust has also been piloting a facilitated self-help computer programme that helps staff experiencing symptoms of mild to moderate depression and anxiety to cope.