Comment

25.07.18

Danny Mortimer: Striving for a healthy workforce

Source: NHE July/August 2018

We still need to strive for greater workforce wellbeing within the NHS, which will consequently have a positive impact on patient care, argues Danny Mortimer, chief executive of NHS Employers.

The NHS Constitution rightly states that patients are at the heart of everything the NHS does, and our understanding of how we better care for our people as employers to meet that mission has been developing over many years.

But Paul Falmer, the chief executive of mental health charity Mind (who writes on p34), reminded us at Confed18 that the nation’s biggest employer has much more to do to better care for the mental health of our people.

There are, of course, some notable examples. NHS England has just launched its healthy workforce framework detailing the enablers and interventions that make the biggest impact on the wellbeing of the workplace, drawing on the experience of exemplars we identified with Dame Carol Black, a former advisor to the government on the relationship between work and health.

Meanwhile, NHS Improvement is building on this framework, working directly with trusts to build on its work to retain staff, to reduce sickness absence and improve workforce wellbeing.

‘Thriving at Work,’ the review published last October on mental health and employers, and co-authored by Farmer and Dennis Stevenson, provides powerful insights into how employers can and must support the mental health of the workforce to remain in and thrive through work.

All these reports remind us that, as healthcare leaders, we need to support staff by providing an environment that positively encourages greater wellbeing. In simple terms, care in (to our people) will lead to care out (to our patients).

This can cost nothing, but may well lead to a big impact on the wellbeing of the workforce. Before we discuss frameworks, initiatives and interventions, we could just start by asking how staff are and providing support, even if that is just by the act of listening.

We at NHS Employers have outlined eight key elements for greater staff wellbeing. These include providing a healthy working environment and person-centred leadership. Effective person-centred leadership and management is essential to enable workforce wellbeing to be prioritised and remain a central consideration.

Organisations must also have an organisation-wide plan that utilises evidence, takes into account national and local data, and   is built on the needs of the workforce. The plan needs to be clear,  effective, and take   a targeted approach where needed, but remain responsive to the changing needs of the workforce.

Engagement and communication is critical to a successful approach to ensure the needs of the workforce are listened to, understood and actioned. Staff also need to know what is happening to support their wellbeing, what is available, and how they can get involved in shaping this further.

Employers must also provide a healthy working environment focused on implementing the NICE workplace guidance. Then, interventions can be targeted on key health and wellbeing issues having the most impact on the workforce.

Finally, evaluating and acting on wellbeing actions is critical to ensure work is having the desired impact on the workforce, and making changes to plans to remain responsive to changing needs where required.

Further detailed information on the eight elements and the NHS England framework can be accessed via the NHS Employers health and wellbeing webpages. To re-evaluate your work or to start your journey, you could use our health and wellbeing diagnostic tool.

Finally, whilst the majority of the  action that needs to take place to make our workplaces healthier rests with local employers, there are steps that national leaders can also take. We’ve been calling for some time for an official national endorsement of prioritising access to NHS treatment for our people (based on an occupational health referral, for example) as a means of preventing absence and reducing time lost. We hope that any new offer to NHS staff could include this step. Together, let’s make our health and care organisations a healthier, happier place to work and thrive.

 

Enjoying NHE? Subscribe here to receive our weekly news updates or click here to receive a copy of the magazine!

Comments

There are no comments. Why not be the first?

Add your comment

 

national health executive tv

more videos >

latest healthcare news

‘Damaging’ NHS targets ‘have had their day’ claims Lord Prior

15/02/2019‘Damaging’ NHS targets ‘have had their day’ claims Lord Prior

NHS targets “have had their day” according to Lord Prior as the head of the health service launches an attack on 25 years of flawed h... more >
Controversial shake-up of Kent stroke services given rubber stamp amid calls for judicial review

15/02/2019Controversial shake-up of Kent stroke services given rubber stamp amid calls for judicial review

A major reorganisation of stroke services across Kent and Medway have been approved following a unanimous decision by the Joint Committee of CCGs... more >
A&E waiting time performance hits all time low as NHS ‘buckles under the strain’

15/02/2019A&E waiting time performance hits all time low as NHS ‘buckles under the strain’

A&E waiting time performances in NHS trusts in England have hit their lowest level since regards began, according to the latest NHS statistic... more >
681 149x260 NHE Subscribe button

the scalpel's daily blog

Blog: 5 minutes with Dr Tracy Vell MBE, Associate Lead for Primary and Community Care, Greater Manchester, Health and Social Care Partnership.

14/02/2019Blog: 5 minutes with Dr Tracy Vell MBE, Associate Lead for Primary and Community Care, Greater Manchester, Health and Social Care Partnership.

Ahead EvoNorth we caught up with Dr Tracy Vell MBE, Associate Lead for Primary and Community Care, Greater Manchester, Health and Social Care Partnership. Dr Tracy Vell MBE shares her thoughts on the Northern Powerhouse, what it means to her and why she thinks it’s important to attend EvoNorth.  What does your role as Associate Lead for Primary and Community Care, Greater Manchester, Health and Social Care Partnersh... more >
read more blog posts from 'the scalpel' >

interviews

How can winter pressures be dealt with? Introduce a National Social Care Service, RCP president suggests

24/10/2018How can winter pressures be dealt with? Introduce a National Social Care Service, RCP president suggests

A dedicated national social care service could be a potential solution to surging demand burdening acute health providers over the winter months,... more >
RCP president on new Liverpool college building: ‘This will be a hub for clinicians in the north’

24/10/2018RCP president on new Liverpool college building: ‘This will be a hub for clinicians in the north’

The president of the Royal College of Physicians (RCP) has told NHE that the college’s new headquarters based in Liverpool will become a hu... more >
Duncan Selbie: A step on the journey to population health

24/01/2018Duncan Selbie: A step on the journey to population health

The NHS plays a part in the country’s wellness – but it’s far from being all that matters. Duncan Selbie, chief executive of Pu... more >
Cutting through the fake news

22/11/2017Cutting through the fake news

In an era of so-called ‘fake news’ growing alongside a renewed focus on reducing stigma around mental health, Paul Farmer, chief exec... more >

last word

Hard to be optimistic

Hard to be optimistic

Rachel Power, chief executive of the Patients Association, warns that we must be realistic about the very real effects of continued underfunding across the health service. It’s now bey... more > more last word articles >

editor's comment

25/09/2017A hotbed of innovation

This edition of NHE comes hot on the heels of this year’s NHS Expo which, once again, proved to be a huge success at Manchester Central. A number of announcements were made during the event, with the health secretary naming the second wave of NHS digital pioneers, or ‘fast followers’, which follow the initial global digital e... read more >

health service focus

Innovative mobile solution meeting NHS demand

07/01/2019Innovative mobile solution meeting NHS demand

EMS Healthcare report on the first fleet of m... more >
National Health Executive fuels the Northern Powerhouse with official partnership

21/11/2018National Health Executive fuels the Northern Powerhouse with official partnership

Cognitive Publishing, the home of leading hea... more >