Partners meeting summary - 9 December 2015


15 / 12 / 2015 9.37am

Diversity and Inclusion Partners meeting number three.

Theme:  workplace health and wellbeing 

Paul Deemer, head of diversity and inclusion welcomed over fifty delegates to the third partners meeting. The meeting began by hlighting the recent announcement from Simon Stevens, Chief Executive of NHS England, and the major drive to improve and support the health and wellbeing of 1.3million health service staff.  This new initiative was designed to put the commitment made in the NHS Five Year Forward View into practice: to ensure the NHS as an employer sets a national example in the support it offers its own staff to stay healthy.

Karen Steadman from the Work Foundation shared the recent report titled Investing in a Workforce Fit for the Future. She outlined the issue of poor employment outcomes for people with long term health conditions and the apparent contradiction that people with such conditions are able and motivated to work – what is lacking is the right support to enable them to do so. She addressed the need for NHS trusts to focus on meeting the challenge of an ageing workforce, higher retirement age and increased chronic illness within the workforce.   

The second speaker of the day was Karen Turner from NHS England. She outlined the latest policy and the need to go beyond rhetoric and the importance of raising awareness of mental health care needs and meeting the challenge of delivering parity of esteem. She highlighted the importance of the challenge especially as mental health problems account for 28 per cent of the burden of disease but only 13 per cent of NHS spending. 

The final speaker of the morning was Claire Henderson, Lecturer in Psychiatry at the Health King's College London Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience. She focused on the social stigma attached to mental health and the discrimination they experience can make their difficulties worse and more difficult to recover. She pointed out that nearly nine out of ten people with mental health problems say that stigma and discrimination have a negative effect on their lives. She also stressed the importance of staff and how they can play a crucial role in tackling stigma surrounding mental health.    

After lunch, Paul Quinlan from Ernst Young (EY) talked about award winning staff and mental health awareness programme. He shared how EY were recognised this year for helping to improve mental health in the workplace, winning a Mental Health First Aid (MHA) England Award in 2015

The next speaker was Lisa Rodriguez, former Chief Executive of a large mental health trust, Lisa shared her powerful story on why she took the decision to come out about her own experience of mental health problems.

The final speaker Gregor Jones, Communications officer, NHS Confederation provided an interactive session on how to use and make the best of social media and in particular twitter.

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