Improved wellbeing support for NHS staff

THE Government has set out a commitment to provide better mental health and wellbeing support to NHS staff in England, including a dedicated service giving confidential advice and help 24 hours a day.

The new support will be based on recommendations made in a report by Health Education England (HEE) and will be considered as part of the new workforce implementation plan. The latest NHS staff survey showed that less than a third of staff felt their organisation took positive action towards improving their health and wellbeing.

The reports also sets plans for post-incident support for NHS frontline staff, such as peer group support or a more formal psychological assessment and fast-tracked mental health referrals for NHS employees. In addition it calls for improved rest spaces for on-call staff and trainees during and after their shifts, providing security, shower facilities and refreshments and a NHS workforce wellbeing guardian in every NHS organisation, responsible for championing mental health and wellbeing support for staff.

It is hoped the measures should help NHS organisations make positive progress on sickness absence rates, staff performance and retention.

Professor Ian Cumming, Chief Executive of Health Education England, commented: "It is vital that staff feel they are supported and that employers have the right procedures in place to offer all the help that may be needed. The mental wellbeing of staff contributes positively to patient care so we must get it right."