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.

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 has worked with twelve NHS organisations to create a new Health and Wellbeing Framework and accompanying diagnostic tool to help NHS organisations plan and implement their own approach for improving staff health and wellbeing. This framework has been developed by NHS Employers, NHS England and NHS Improvement, who engaged with the SPF through the Workforce Issues Group (WIG). 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 for the first time for NHS organisations.


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

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?

Unite’s health and safety guide has information on health and safety legislation.

Tackling bullying at work is a UNISON guide for safety reps.

Harassment at work is a guide used by UNISON branches and stewards to negotiate policies which prevent, tackle and deal with incidences of harassment and bullying in the workplace. 

Unite's website has various health, safety & environmental information and resources to download. 

The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists working with the Royal College of Midwives produced the undermining toolkit, to address the challenge of undermining and bullying behaviour in maternity and gynaecology services.

Doctors wellbeing on the British Medical Association website has help and advice for doctors and medical students.  

Chartered Society of Physiotherapy have produced health and safety resources on stress, work environment and managing conflict. 

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

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

The Royal College of Nursing website has a section on bullying and harassment for members who experience bullying or harassment at work.

Read how St Georges Healthcare NHS Trust have built a respectful and passionate workplace.

Simon Stevens, NHS England announced the Healthy Workplace Initiative designed to support a healthy NHS workforce. 

Read about how Hull and East Yorkshire Hospitals have developed a project, in partnership, to tackle bullying and harassment in their trust. 

The Health, Safety and Wellbeing Partnership Group (HSWPG) has published material on bullying in healthcare. This includes a tackling bullying in the NHS – HSWPG infographic.

NHS Improvement published an improvement tool in September 2016 as part of its Create a Culture and Leadership Programme. The tool enables users to diagnose their trust's current culture and target the right areas for a collective leadership strategy.

NHS Employers website includes links to tools and resources to help tackle bullying and harassment.

In the first of a two part series of podcasts on the NHS Employers website, Jon Restell, Jon Lenney and Dr Madeline Carter talk about bullying and harassment, the problems the NHS face and how they can be tackled.

Part two in the tackling bullying and harassment series of podcasts features Birmingham and Solihull Mental Health Foundation Trust and their cultural ambassadors project, which was a 2016 HPMA partnership award finalist. 

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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