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05.12.19

Staff health and wellbeing is the key to ‘Our Health Heroes’ delivering great patient care

Dean Royles, strategic workforce advisor at Skills for Health and co-author of ‘An Introduction to Human Resource Management,’ discusses last week’s Our Health Heroes Awards.

We find unsung heroes in all walks of life. Individuals, doing amazing things in their local communities. Individuals that don’t seek recognition or praise. Individuals that simply go about their business making an impact on the people they meet, often without any appreciation of the difference they make. They are often humble and unassuming, operating beneath the radar and we don’t seek them out anywhere near enough to give them the praise they deserve.

Early this year, I wrote a blog about heroes in the NHS and the opportunity to nominate and celebrate the achievements of NHS support staff at the Skills for Health ‘Our Health Heroes’ Awards.

The ceremony was held on Wednesday 20th November at London’s Science Museum and I was particularly taken with the winners of the workforce wellbeing Staff Retention and Wellbeing Employer of the Year category. This was won by the staff health and wellbeing programme, the LiveWell team at University Hospital Southampton.

This team recognise the importance of teamwork and that the health and wellbeing of all staff, whatever they do, is essential to great patient care. Working closely with trade union colleagues the Trust have a comprehensive programme of work including; health checks, mental health training and support, physical health, smoking concession and weight management. These programmes increase staff engagement and reduce sickness absence allowing the whole team to put patients first.

3. Staff Wellbeing and Retention Employers

The winning team, pictured with Dr Dawn Harper (far left - our ceremony host) & on her right Prerana Issar (Chief People Officer at NHS Improvement, who presented the award).
 

The NHS Healthcare Support Workforce must be the largest collection of unsung heroes anywhere in the world. There are hundreds of thousands of them working in the NHS, including healthcare assistants, porters, cleaners, technicians, joiners, gardeners, library assistants, administrative staff and well, you get the picture…

Don’t get me wrong, we have some amazing, fantastic clinical staff in the NHS that regularly receive praise and recognition in television, radio and news programmes. and we also see them on or ‘fly on the wall’ documentaries, often changing people’s lives with their clinical expertise and experience. They feature on the news when ground-breaking research is revealed or demonstrating the ability to cope over winter with often scarce resources. And it is absolutely right that we recognise their contribution and dedication, but healthcare is about team-work and it is fantastic to see organisations that recognize the value of all our staff and the contribution they make to patient care. 

We know that the vast majority of staff in the NHS see their role as a vocation, they want to make a difference to the lives of the people they touch and support. This means that the fantastic work that is done, every single day, often isn’t highlighted or emphasised. 

I know not everyone is in favour of awards, but to me, it is right that we recognise organisations like University Hospital Southampton, that work so hard to support staff through their health and wellbeing programmes and that we recognise individuals that make a difference each day. It is also important that we celebrate that it is the whole healthcare team that makes the heroic differences to patients.

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