NHS Staff Wellbeing

Why Investing in Organisational and Management Practices Makes Business Sense

Published in: EPPI Centre website (June 2022)

Posted on RAND.org on June 22, 2022

by Kevin Daniels, Sara Connolly, Ritchie Woodard, Christian Van Stolk, Jana Patey, Kevin Fong, Rachel France, Carol Vigurs, Mike Herd

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This report makes the business case for investing in the wellbeing of NHS staff. It includes a review of data on the current state of the mental health and wellbeing of NHS staff showing that nearly half of staff reported felling unwell as a result of work-related stress in the most recent survey. Research also shows that patient care can be affected by poor healthcare staff wellbeing.

The report estimates the financial cost to the NHS of poor wellbeing at £12.1 billion a year, and that around £1 billion could be saved by successfully tackling this issue. The report includes a rapid evidence review of organisational and management practices finding that actions focused on how working schedules are managed and improving aspects of the physical working environment have the most positive effects on staff wellbeing with some evidence on cost effectiveness.

Cultural change should be accompanied by a step-change in the priority which is placed on the protection of the workforce and the promotion of their health: managing staff health and wellbeing of staff should be put at the core of NHS operational plans, governance, and strategies, as well as the regulatory inspections by the Care Quality Commission. Given the unique structure and size of the NHS, there is a danger that because responsibility to make the necessary changes falls on different organisations operating at national, area and employer levels, not enough will be done to effect significant change. The issue of governance needs to be addressed up front.

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