Work well the Walton way


06 / 10 / 2011

The Walton Centre is unique to the NHS in that it is the only specialist Neurosciences Trust in the UK. Based in Liverpool, our catchment population is over 3.5 million and is drawn from Merseyside, Cheshire, parts of Lancashire and Greater Manchester, the Isle of Man and North Wales. However, with an international reputation in some areas of expertise, referrals are accepted on the basis of clinical need from any geographical area. The Trust has an annual budget of c£60 million (09/10) and employs approximately 800 staff.

What we did and why

How we did it

Results and next steps

Tips for other trusts

Contact details


What we did and why

The trust board was fully engaged with the health and well-being agenda and recognised its benefits and potential for positive contribution particularly around productivity and quality. The trust put itself forward for the new Investors in People (IIP) Health and Well-being Good Practice Award in March 2011 along with the IIP assessment for education, training and development. The project saw the development of the local strategy “Work Well the Walton Way” alongside a comprehensive action plan.

The key to the strategy and action plan’s success was the involvement of staff and unions in its development and implementation. The Trust held an open day which was supported by local business partners both private and public sector, and attended by over 300 members of staff. As part of the IIP Assessment ,10 per cent of the staff were selected at random to be interviewed to assess if they felt that health and well-being was embedded within the Trust.

How we did it

The strategy was developed in collaboration with the joint health and well-being leads, the Head of HR and the Staff side chair. The strategy was taken through Staff Partnership Forum for consultation and received their backing before its implementation. The trust asked to staff to help populate the action plan with suggestions on how they tackle:

  • Obesity
  • Health promotion and prevention
  • Smoking cessation
  • Staff engagement
  • Training and leadership
  • Increasing physical activity
  • Alcohol and substance misuse

Feedback and suggestions from the consultation with staff informed the planning and delivery of the following initiatives:

  • Health and well-being champions on every ward forming a virtual group
  • An in-house weight management course
  • Zumba classes were held at appropriate times (in partnership with a local business)
  • A cycle scheme
  • A running club (October  2011)
  • A combat aerobics course (October  2011)
  • Revision of the intranet site including the health and well-being section
  • Promotion of NHS Discounts website
  • Revision of the following policies:
    Sickness, stress, dignity at work, appraisal, induction, buying annual leave scheme, staff recognition scheme, long service
  • Development of a trust apprenticeship scheme
  • Introduction of the PRIDE leadership development course
  • Monthly HR master classes
  • Staff participation in the North West Corporate Games
  • 'Walton’s Got Talent Night' (November 2011)
  • Gym discounts
  • Revision of the occupational health service level agreement
  • Staff counselling
  • Staff physiotherapy and alternative therapies

Communication and engagement with staff was achieved via health and well-being champions, emails, newsletters and team briefings. The strategy is monitored via KPI reports, staff survey results and feedback received from staff summits.

The trust was the first in the North of the country to be awarded the IIP Education and Training Award and the Health & Well-being Good Practice Framework – this will be reviewed again in three years to ensure continuity and sustainability.

Results and next steps

Following introduction of the strategy, staff sickness has reduced from over 7 per cent in January 2010 to under 4 per cent. This trend in reduction has continued for the last four months and has resulted in a cost saving including a reduction in agency spend.

Other KPIs are measured every month and staff turnover and exit interview data is analysed. Staff survey results show an improvement in the overall response rate and a more positive attitude towards health and well-being, communication, job satisfaction and many other key areas. Regular staff summits are held offering staff the opportunity to feed back directly to and ask questions of the executive team.

IWL Champions facilitate two-way communication with staff and health and well-being leads. Positive feedback was received from staff who attended the 12 week in-house Weight Management Course, with one attendee saying “the course was so informative and I have made many lifestyle changes all for the better”.

The Walton Centre NHS Foundation Trust is leading the organisation and planning of the North West Corporate Games which has attracted significant media attention.

Tips for other trusts

Continuous staff engagement and feedback to staff

  • Take small steps
  • Health and well-being champions in all departments

Contact details

Joanne Twist

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