As a hospital trust that sees more than 885,000 patients every year and one of the largest local employers, it is important that Epsom and St Helier hospitals invest in taking care of the people who take care of the public.
Now, thanks to a £74,000 grant, the trust will be expanding its range of services and resources to help lead the way on improving staff health and wellbeing across the whole of the NHS.
Having been selected as one of 12 leading NHS employers to participate in the Healthy NHS Workforce programme, part of a comprehensive initiative launched by NHS England to boost staff health and wellbeing, the hospitals will be introducing a range of new services for staff, as well as enhancing the support and resources already available.
Kevin Croft, Director of People and Organisational Development and executive lead for the Healthy NHS Workforce programme, said: “There is a lot of evidence to show that improving staff health and wellbeing can help to deliver better, safer and higher quality care on a more consistent basis. As a trust, we are already committed to taking care of and supporting our staff, so we are delighted to have the opportunity to take this work to the next level as part of this exciting new programme.
Zahra Alexander, Occupational Health Manager, said: “One of our key aims as part of this project is to provide easy access to services and diagnostic tests that will help staff identify any risk factors for chronic health problems as soon as possible, and to increase the number of staff to whom we can provide health assessments. We will be offering all staff over 40 a NHS health check, which will include blood glucose and cholesterol, blood pressure monitoring, information on mental health, and assessment of musculoskeletal disorders (which relates to the body's joints and muscles and other structures that support limbs, neck and back).”
As part of the programme, which will be piloted over 6-12 months, the trust will expand its range of services already in place to support musculoskeletal health and psychological wellbeing. Zahra explained: “Musculoskeletal ill health, such as back problems, is one of the most significant causes of sickness in the NHS. We have recently introduced a physiotherapy service for staff, which is already proving a welcome addition. Under the Healthy Workforce project, we will be expanding the service to include a new group session on back strengthening exercises for staff experiencing problems.
“We are also introducing a number of additional and complementary schemes to enhance our existing staff counselling service, including mental health first aid training and investment in the Headspace app, which is a tool for mindfulness and meditation.”
Kevin added: “We are incredibly proud of the range of services and resources we already have available to support staff health and wellbeing. Being invited to be part of the Healthy NHS Workforce programme demonstrates the value of what we currently offer, but also presents a fantastic opportunity to be part of shaping the future for staff health and wellbeing across the NHS.
“A number of new projects have already started, with a variety of other initiatives in development – I very much look forward to seeing how this project grows over the coming months and the benefit this work will have for our staff and people using our hospitals.”