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Sir Julian Hartley

Chief Executive
NHS Providers

Welcome to Providers Deliver: enabling wellbeing within trusts. This is the ninth report in the publication series where we celebrate and promote the work of NHS trusts and foundation trusts, as they respond to the challenges and opportunities facing the NHS and seek to improve care for patients and service users, in challenging times. This time we’re looking at critically important initiatives to support staff wellbeing.

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 NHS history have exacerbated these pressures. Last year saw the highest staff turnover rates on record.

The importance of staff wellbeing is reflected in the current national policy context, with clear emphasis in the NHS People Plan (NHS England, 2020), Long Term Workforce Plan (NHS England, 2023a) and Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Improvement Plan (NHS England, 2023b), all aiming to improve the operational environment through compassionate and inclusive workplace cultures. This is a welcome policy response from national bodies to worrying indicators such as NHS staff survey data, which shows that 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 (NHS Staff Survey, 2023). We know too, from our work with our membership, that local action to nurture and develop inclusive, supportive and respectful working environments, remains a core priority for trust leaders.

The case studies in this report show trusts proactively responding to national data, local environments, and direct staff feedback, supporting colleagues by investing in interventions to support their physical, mental and emotional wellbeing.

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.

Sir Julian Hartley
Chief Executive, NHS Providers