Establishing what works - evaluation plans 

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17 / 6 / 2016 Midnight

There is currently little information about the health and wellbeing of NHS staff and often insufficient evidence about programmes that work to improve them, yet the NHS is doing more than ever to support the health and wellbeing of its staff. Most NHS organisations have in place a wide range of great initiatives for staff: from exercise classes to training for line managers in supporting their colleagues. 

The scale and nature of this support varies between NHS organisations. This is in part because we don’t have a good enough understanding of what initiatives are most effective in improving health and wellbeing and reducing avoidable sickness absence – i.e. what works? And where resources are limited, which are the most cost effective: where should an NHS organisation invest additional funds?

In addition, even where we have a good understanding of what works, we need to do more to understand how to share this for all of our staff. This is why evaluation is such an important part of the NHS Healthy Workforce programme. We aim to show the wider NHS, not just those organisations we work with most intensively, what interventions are most effective and how they can be used on a larger scale. 

We’re doing this in two ways:

NHS healthy workforce survey 2016

Firstly, we're gathering our best understanding of the health and wellbeing challenges and priorities for the full range of the NHS workforce.

We already learn a lot through the annual NHS Staff Survey, but in 2016 we're adding a special baseline survey of staff health and wellbeing. This includes questions about what support staff most want from their employers and what employers are already offering. 

This survey is taking place at a sample of NHS organisations so we can draw some reliable conclusions for the wider NHS. In addition, for 2016 onwards the annual NHS Staff Survey will include an optional health and wellbeing module. This will be for any NHS organisations to use routinely to better understand and track what support their staff most benefit from.

Evaluation of the NHS Healthy Workforce programme 2016-17

Secondly, we are partnering with an experienced evaluation company to understand if the offer to staff is effective in improving health and reducing sickness absence, as well as how the support should be implemented.

Robust evaluation like this takes time. We will share interim results by March 2017 and final recommendations later that year. We will be updating this page as the evaluation progresses.

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