Putting people first at Papworth


15 / 02 / 2011

The organisation

Papworth Hospital NHS Foundation Trust in Cambridgeshire is the UK’s largest specialist cardiothoracic hospital and the country’s main heart and lung transplant centre. It treats 22,400 inpatients and day cases and more than 48,400 outpatients each year.

Its services include cardiology, respiratory medicine, and cardiothoracic surgery and transplantation. It has the largest respiratory support and sleep centre in the UK. Papworth employs 1500 staff and more than 100 volunteers.

SHA area: East of England.

What we did and why


ssistant director of HRSusan Caranese, a


  • integrate the programme with your business objectives
  • recognise that the most challenging thing is actually to get people to take action. People come up with ideas but say they can’t do that on top of their day jobs and there needs to be a plan to take their ideas forward
  • nominate local champions who are enthusiastic and can pick up and run with things
  • communicate regularly using a variety of communications tools such as a staff newsletter, suggestion scheme, the intranet and your staff champions. The intranet is particularly useful for signposting
  • use the knowledge and experience in your trust, such as support from the occupational health team.

Tips for other trusts  

As the move to the new hospital draws closer, Papworth Hospital will continue to develop its staff engagement work to ensure its staff are fully informed and engaged throughout the process.

Papworth also became the first NHS Hospital in England to receive a joint Investors in People and NHS Health and Well-being accreditation.

Participation in the staff survey shot to 64 per cent and the hospital was named among the top 40 best NHS workplaces in the 2010 Healthcare 100.

Since the programme launched, Papworth Hospital has been well recognised for its success in staff engagement.

Results and next steps

The trust’s communications team lead on the programme, with support from HR and the knowledge and expertise of the occupational health team.

Other staff engagement strands are looking at the trust’s reward and recognition system and Papworth People is now part of the trust’s induction programme.

The trust is also developing a toolkit to get managers to regularly consider the health of individual staff, possibly through the appraisal system.

By popular demand, the day has been repeated in 2011 with a focus on lung health with activities organised by staff for staff.

Staff now have access to a walking club, information on cycle paths and safety, information on diet and healthy eating and even shiatsu classes. Apart from the shiatsu, which staff pay for at a discounted rate, the programme has been cost-neutral.

Market-style stalls on all aspects of health and well-being, from weight/healthy eating and keeping active to blood pressure and lung capacity testing, helped staff to focus on their own health and better understand what it was like to be a patient at Papworth. The day was very well received and a Valuing Health and Well-being Action Group was formed to take forward ideas from staff throughout the year.

"We wanted to give a sense of what would happen if you came to Papworth as a patient and we were very pleased to have good attendance from both clinical and non-clinical staff."

In essence we were creating a ‘staff wellness pathway’ for everyone at Papworth. Ms Caranese said: "It was important to ensure that all our staff, whether they are in cardiac, thoracic or other services were given the opportunity to share experiences and information which we give to our patients.

The Valuing Health and Well-being workstream was launched in January 2010, with an event focused on healthy hearts. It aimed to educate staff about their own health and well-being and was also an opportunity to demonstrate the services and treatment that patients at Papworth experience.

  • dedicated intranet pages
  • an interactive Staff Suggestions Scheme
  • departmental briefings with the chief executive
  • roadshow information displays in the staff restaurant
  • dedicated section in the monthly staff newsletter.

Staff engagement around the overall Papworth People programme is achieved through a number of ways including:

The Papworth People work programme reflects the hospital’s strategic objectives. The first two strands - Working Differently and Valuing Health and Well-being - launched in 2010.

How we did it 

"Our programme addresses key aims such as how we engage our staff in the process of building a new hospital, how we raise productivity, and how we reduce our sickness absence."

Susan Caranese, assistant director, HR, said: "Papworth People aims to bring to life what we do and how we do it so that we can provide even clearer objectives and measurements to help improve our service to patients, increase our productivity and ensure we support our staff in maintaining their own health and well-being.

The hospital wanted to emphasise that it was the people who make the organisation, not the buildings, and launched the Papworth People staff engagement programme in January 2010.

The process of choosing a partner to design, build, finance and operate the new hospital will take place over the next two years. During this time it is important to ensure staff are involved in the process, that their questions about the move are addressed and that the entire organisation works together to retain its strong culture.

The co-location of Papworth Hospital with the other organisations on the Biomedical Campus will bring benefits to patients as they will have immediate access to a range of services and also bring opportunities in terms of research and education.a £165 million new state-of-the-art Papworth Hospital on the Cambridge Biomedical Campus in central Cambridge. The hospital plans to build

Latest Tweets

Why Register?

Great reasons to register with NHS Employers

  • A personalised website
    Manage your profile and select topics of interest to you
  • Access your dashboard
    Bookmark useful content to help you quickly find what you're looking for
  • Get involved
    Contribute to our Talking Points discussions, comment on and rate our webpages
  • Keep up to date
    Receive the latest newsletters and media summaries

Sounds great, what next?

Register Now

Not now, I will register later

Log In