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‘NHS staff wellbeing programmes must improve’

21 November 2014

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The NHS needs to be better at evaluating its health and wellbeing programmes, a report published today has warned. 

Evaluating Health and Wellbeing Interventions for Healthcare Staff: Key Findings warns that financial pressure on the NHS will make it increasingly difficult for employers to justify staff and wellbeing programmes unless more evidence is provided to assess their merit.

NHS Employers, which published the report, said this would be a significant loss because effective programmes are known to benefit staff, the health service and patients.

In October 2014 Simon Stevens, chief executive of NHS England, outlined his vision of an NHS that encourages the public to become healthier by strongly supporting its own staff to do likewise.

Danny Mortimer, NHS Employers chief executive said: “The NHS has over many years expanded its staff wellbeing policies and programmes, supporting the well-being of our people, to help them to deliver high quality patient care. 

“However we are concerned that financial pressure on NHS organisations will reduce the funding for such projects unless managers can better demonstrate their value.”

The report describes ten key principles which will enhance evaluation of health and wellbeing programmes, and recommend NHS organisations increasingly share information in an attempt to explore what does and does not work. 

Karen Middleton, chief executive of The Chartered Society of Physiotherapy, said: “The Boorman review in 2009 found that provision of health and wellbeing schemes could save the NHS £555 million nationally and today’s report shows that fast access to physiotherapy can greatly reduce absence rates and increase productivity amongst staff.

 “The research highlights a strong commitment to reducing sickness absence in the NHS and presents a compelling case for this being adopted throughout the NHS.”