Promoting partnership working in the NHS

Health and Wellbeing

To deliver high quality patient care, the NHS needs staff that are healthy, well and at work. Looking after the health and wellbeing of staff directly contributes to the delivery of quality patient care.

Developing a sustainable health and wellbeing approach needs strong and clear leadership, supported by a solid strategy that is continually developing and is underpinned by a proactive and engaged approach.

SPF partner organisations have developed some useful tools and resources, to help support the health and wellbeing of healthcare staff. 

Useful resources

Headspace - Headspace is a science-backed app in mindfulness and meditation, providing unique tools and resources to help reduce stress, build resilience, and aid better sleep.

They have now extended their free offer and are offering free access to all NHS staff with an NHS email address until 31 December 2021.

If you’re a carer, or supporting a working carer in your organisation, you can use the Working Carer’s Passport to have a conversation about caring responsibilities and access practical tools, useful resources and further support online.

Liberate - an app offering culturally sensitive and diverse meditations curated for the black, Asian and minority ethnic (BME) community - is now available free to all staff in the NHS. 

Second Victim Supporta resource for clinicians who are involved in a patient safety incident, their colleagues and the organisations they work for.

The GMC has published a new independent report: Caring for doctors, Caring for patients which looks into the wellbeing of doctors and medical students. The report aims to help deliver safe, supportive and inclusive environments, and compassionate cultures across the UK.

NHS employers has developed some useful information over on their webiste regarding reasonable adjustments in the workplace following the introduction of the Workforce Disability Equality Standard (WDES).  The information outlines how employers can support all disabled staff through careful consideration of the individuals needs when implementing any reasonable adjustments in the workplace.

The British Medical Association (BMA) have developed a new charter to support the mental wellbeing of doctors and medical students. The charter sets out the steps employers can take to implement a supportive culture and develop a wellbeing strategy, as well as to encourage a healthy workplace and tackle stigma around mental ill-health. 

The mental health chairty, Mind has developed resources to help support yourself and colleagues who are experiencing mental health issues at work.

NHS Employers has pulled together some helpful resources on their website to support employees going through the menopause in the workplace and information on how managers can provide support and help tackle the stigma surrounding the menopause. 

The Department of Health and Social care (DHSC) has developed a Talk Health and Care community which is open to all DHSC staff which gives them the opportunity to have thier suggestions heard. Take a look at their website for more information. 

Public Health England has developed a free online toolkit which asks five simple questions to help you manage and maintain your mental health. Create Your Mind Plan now and find your path to better mental health.

The Zero Suicide Alliance is a collaborative of NHS trusts, businesses and individuals who are all committed to suicide prevention in the UK and beyond. The alliance is ultimately concerned with improving support for people contemplating suicide by raising awareness of and promoting FREE suicide prevention training which is accessible to all.

NHS health and wellbeing framework to help NHS organisations improve their support offer to staff. The SPF encourage employers to work in partnership with trade unions to use, analyse and act upon the results of the framework.

NHS Employers website has a section on health work and wellbeing which contains useful information on topics such as engaging your board, managing sickness absence, helping staff with mental health problems and historical evidence on the importance of wellbeing. They have also created an emotional wellbeing toolkit - How are you feeling today?

NHS Improvement's create a culture and leadership programme:

The BMA's supporting health and wellbeing report (October 2018) makes recommendations for improving the health and wellbeing of doctors. 

The Welsh NHS Confederation has created a resource on arts, health and wellbeing. Read how arts engagement supports positive health outcomes.

Head first is a mental wellness resource developed in partnership. This was designed for the ambulance sector but can be used in other sectors.

Mental Health at Work have developed a comprehensive guide to supporting mental health and work, including documents, guides, tips, videos, courses, podcasts, templates and information from key organisations across the UK.

Case studies

Implementing a just and learning culture - Mersey Care NHS Foundation Trust.

Collaborative approach to improve staff health and wellbeing - Manchester University Foundation Trust and the Royal College of Midwives.

Reasonable adjustment passport - Derbyshire Community Health Services Foundation Trust.

Feel good Friday - North Staffordshire Combined Healthcare NHS Trust.

Health and wellbeing strategy for staff - St George's University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust. 


Research shows that where NHS trusts prioritise staff health and wellbeing and actively engage with staff to develop work in this area, levels of engagement increase, as does staff morale, loyalty, innovation, productivity, all resulting in higher quality patient care.

The NHS cannot deliver care without its staff and depends on having a healthy and productive workforce. Line managers are key to facilitating open communication with their staff, and this can play a huge role in keeping staff well, motivated, feeling valued and empowered to perform to their full potential and provide high quality patient care. 

NHS England worked with twelve NHS organisations to create a Health and Wellbeing Framework and accompanying diagnostic tool to help NHS organisations plan and implement their own approach for improving staff health and wellbeing. The framework was developed by NHS Employers, NHS England and NHS Improvement, who engaged with the SPF through the Workforce Issues Group. They were also supported by partners across the NHS, voluntary sector and government to bring best practice, research and insights together in one accessible place.

The NHS Staff Council’s health, safety and wellbeing partnership group (HSWPG), aims to promote a safer working environment, raise standards of workplace health, safety and wellbeing and promote best practice across the service for all healthcare staff and the independent sector. 

Listen to the chairs of the HSWPG, James Tracey and Kim Sunley, talking about what successful partnership working looks like, why it’s important and the benefits it can bring. In this podcast find out more about the role of the HSWPG and the various resources the group has produced for NHS managers, including guidance on preventing and managing sickness absence, stress and back pain as well as the comprehensive workplace health and safety standards document.


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