Prescribing Success: Promoting Staff Well-Being in the NHS

The healthcare sector has some of the lowest rates in staff wellness and staff are often subjected to abuse from patients or their family members. The 2018 NHS Staff Survey, found that bullying and harassment remains a serious problem in the NHS, with 1 in 5 employees reporting a claim.

Consequences of Poor Well-Being

Staff affected are showing symptoms of stress, anxiety and depression, alongside a range of other serious health issues.

A toxic environment not only has shocking impacts on members of staff, it also has significant financial consequences. Comprehensive reports concluded that this unhealthy working environment is costing the NHS staggering £2.28bn. This cost is due to a combination of staff illness, staff turnaround, reduced productivity and staff working whilst being ill.   

What can be done?

To deliver high quality patient care, your staff need to be healthy, well and at work. To develop and sustain a healthy and well-being approach there has to be strong leadership. As a Practice Manager, you can implement some key initiatives to promote staff well-being in your practice.

1) Support – Make it clear to staff members that you are there to support them in any way necessary.  

2) Strong Leadership – Having a leadership culture, where health and wellbeing is encouraged and supported, is key to ensuring staff prioritise their own well-being.

3) Encourage Personal Responsibility – Working in a care environment means employees often don’t take the time to look after themselves. Demonstrate the importance of looking after yourself, as well as others. 

4) Health Interventions – Consider interventions as a form of preventative management. Promoting interventions surrounding stress and mental health can drastically reduce absences.  

Well-Being in the Corporate Sector

Although staff abuse is prevalent within the healthcare sector, it’s not the only industry that has problems with staff wellness. Current figures show that 6 in 10 people experience some form of workplace bullying.

To tackle this, corporate companies have begun implementing well-being programmes to create happy and productive work environments.  

Here are just a few of the initiatives used in the corporate sector, that could potentially be implemented into your Practice:

1.  Mindfulness Training – This form of training is a great tool to help employees relieve stress and increase productivity.  

2. Fitness Programs – Promoting exercise either through fitness challenges (bike to work schemes) or discounted gym memberships.

3. Preventative Care – Ensuring employees do not attend work whilst they are sick. Employees ill at work does more harm than it does good, it slows the employee’s recovery, lowers productivity and passes the illness onto other members of staff.

4. Promote Mental Health Awareness – Offering mental health programs and counselling can provided much needed help to staff members. This could include debrief sessions on complex and emotional cases.

5. Days Out – This can be literally anything from meditation classes to sport challenges. These days allow employees to take mind of work and create a strong team culture.

Practices that are successful in prioritising staff health and well-being, can expect increased levels of engagement, staff morale and productivity. All of which results in improved patient care.