Retreats for NHS staff boosting quality of care


The local provider of specialist NHS mental health and learning disability services is offering its 2,400 staff the opportunity to boost their own wellbeing on staff retreats in the heart of the Yorkshire Dales. By staff maintaining their own wellbeing this ensures high quality, consistent care for local people who use services.

Staff are the South West Yorkshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust’s most valuable asset and it wants them to experience good health, both in and out of the workplace. As a specialist provider of mental health services, the Trust is all too aware of the effects of stress on people’s mental wellbeing. The retreats are part of the Trust’s approach to supporting staff through its ‘Wellbeing at Work’ partnership, to promote a healthy, happy workforce.

The retreats offer an opportunity for staff to unwind and reflect, taking part in beneficial activities, such as meditation. Individual counselling is also available. Retreats take place twice a year and have been running successfully for the last eight years, with staff who have attended giving extremely positive feedback on their experiences. Reduced stress levels, increased motivation and greater self awareness are just some of the reported outcomes.

The retreats are part of the Trust’s continued response to the Boorman Review, published in November 2009; an independent report into the health and wellbeing of NHS staff. The report’s recommendations could help the NHS save up to £555 million and 3.4 million working days – equivalent to 14,900 extra staff.

Rev. Michael Gartland, who is head of pastoral and spiritual care at the Trust’s and facilitates the retreats, said, "1 in 4 people will experience a mental health problem in the course of a year and NHS staff aren’t immune to this; the retreats are an opportunity for staff to improve their wellbeing. Additional benefits arise from staff coming together including a deeper understanding and appreciation of the very varied contributions colleagues of different vocations, professions and grades make to the successful functioning and prospering of the Trust and the quality of care we provide to local people."

Alan Davies, the Trust’s HR director added, "We are fully committed to ensuring positive benefits for staff through our Wellbeing at Work partnership. The Trust is an early champion in this field and is recognised as such in the region. Our Trust is also leading and hosting a major research project that involves all NHS mental health provider organisations in the region, studying the link between leadership, wellbeing and engagement and improved outcomes for service users. "

Retreats for NHS staff boosting quality of care

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