Health Service Focus

21.01.16

Encouraging staff wellbeing in health and care

Source: NHE Jan/Feb 16

Alison Kingscott, director of human resources and organisational development at Salisbury NHS FT, talks to NHE about the importance of providing a strategic focus to help implement health and wellbeing initiatives for staff.

Branding is one of the most important aspects of any business, large or small, and its impact shouldn’t be underestimated when it comes to engaging staff with health and wellbeing initiatives. 

A good example of this is at Salisbury NHS Foundation Trust (SFT), which has developed the ShapeUp@Salisbury brand and logo as part of its strategic focus on improving the physical and mental health of staff. 

When the trust, which employs 4,000 staff, started developing its work in this area there was a “lack of strategic focus”. But Alison Kingscott, director of human resources and organisational development at SFT, told us that a strategic group conducted the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) audit and used sickness absence data to assess staff health and wellbeing. 

After analysing the data, the group found that the top reasons for sickness absence were musculoskeletal problems, stress and anxiety. 

Delivering change 

In an attempt to drive change, a strategy for health and wellbeing was formed to: improve physical and mental wellbeing; encourage and support employees to develop and maintain a healthy lifestyle; support employees with manageable health problems or disabilities to maintain access to or regain work; and improve staff satisfaction, recruitment and retention. As part of this work, the ShapeUp@Salisbury brand was born. And a health and wellbeing action group, made up of volunteers from across the trust, helped drive forward the work of the strategy. 

Under the ShapeUp@Salisbury banner, staff are offered resilience workshops, counselling, the opportunity to join walking and running groups, as well as having the option of healthy eating in the staff and public restaurants. Some money has also been released to pay for staff mindfulness sessions and alternative therapists. 

Kingscott said: “We have a number of KPIs (key performance indicators), such as what the NHS Staff Survey is telling us about people’s satisfaction, health at work, sickness absence and stress. 

“The issue for us is to have as many staff in work, well, doing the job they’re doing – happy and healthy. 

“It is good for the staff, good for the patients and it has the knock-on effect of reducing any temporary workforce costs. If we look at stress, for example, we have seen a reduction in stress-related absence. In November 2014, the absence rate was 14.49%, in March 2015 this had reduced to 9.8%, and in October it was 9.2%.” 

Kingscott, who recently gave a presentation at the King’s Fund’s ‘Encouraging staff wellbeing in health and care’ conference, added that Salisbury’s work “isn’t rocket science”. But she told NHE that some delegates at the event were struggling to promote their staff health programmes. 

“Some of the comments I heard were that: ‘we’re doing lots of this work, but people don’t know about it because they don’t associate it with health and wellbeing’,” said Kingscott. “Whereas people know, and staff know, that anything under the ShapeUp@Salisbury brand is about health and wellbeing. It is about supporting staff members to improve their experience while at work. 

“We’ve even produced branded gym bags and water bottles, so when staff join the running groups and other activities, they get these to promote the brand and give them an incentive to take with them. It is also very inclusive.”

Tell us what you think – have your say below or email opinion@nationalhealthexecutive.com

 

Comments

Donna   10/02/2016 at 21:05

it is all talk, NHS management have too many tick boxes. It has NO care for staff, it plays the game to meet government stats on wellbeing, no-one will speak out. The press need to pick this up for people to confidentially report. However no-one is interested, it is not new s!

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