Providers Deliver: staff wellbeing is a core priority for trust leaders

18 October 2023

A new report by NHS Providers highlights practical steps and innovations introduced by trusts to support staff wellbeing, with positive consequences for staff and patient care.

Providers Deliver: Enabling wellbeing within trusts presents a series of case studies where trusts from across hospital, mental health, community and ambulance sectors have responded to national data, local environments and direct staff feedback by investing in targeted interventions to support their physical, mental and emotional wellbeing.

The report notes that since 2010 the demands of working in the NHS have been compounded by rising staff vacancies, squeezed funding, increases in patient demand, an underfunded social care system and a health system designed around treatment rather than prevention.

The Covid-19 pandemic, the cost of living crisis and the longest period of industrial action in the NHS' history have exacerbated these pressures.

Last year saw the highest staff turnover rates on record. Data from the most recent NHS staff survey shows almost half of all staff often or always feel worn out at the end of their shift, over a third feel burnt out because of their work, and almost a third often think about leaving their organisation.

However, trust leaders are taking steps to support staff through the current challenges of working in the NHS. Examples featured in the report include:

The report includes a contribution from the president of the Royal College of Psychiatrists, Dr Lade Smith CBE, who says:

"Improving the wellbeing of NHS workers requires a collective effort to ensure every colleague is treated with respect, dignity, compassion and care.

"This report shows how this can be achieved.

"It is a timely and welcome reminder of the importance of supporting staff to improve their wellbeing, so they feel valued, empowered and supported so patients can experience the best care and achieve the best outcomes."

In a foreword for the report, the chief executive of NHS Providers, Sir Julian Hartley, says action to nurture and develop inclusive, supportive and respectful working environments remains a core priority for trust leaders:

"People are the backbone of the NHS, and trust leaders know that caring for their workforce enables them to care for others.

"As NHS staff continue to tackle the extraordinary pressures they are facing and look to keep the service fit for the future, it is clear that a focus on wellbeing and experience at work will be key.

"With the right investment and focus, trusts will be able to ensure the NHS continues to be a great place to work."