Partnership working between employers and healthcare trade unions on health, safety and wellbeing issues is an effective way of supporting workforce involvement and engagement. Research has shown that effective engagement can only be achieved and sustained when employee wellbeing, particularly physiological wellbeing, is positive.
There is a growing body of evidence demonstrating that good engagement alongside effective strategies to protect and support the health, safety and wellbeing of staff will also benefit patients.
The Francis report highlighted how staff disengagement can lead to a downward spiral into poor care and identified how under-staffing and lack of leadership can lead to unacceptable stress levels, leading to increased sickness absence in staff.
The Berwick report into patient safety also called on leaders and managers to actively support staff by excellent human resource practices, promoting staff health and wellbeing, cultivating a positive organisation climate and involving staff in decision-making and innovation.
The Health, Safety and Wellbeing Partnership Group
The NHS Staff Council’s Health, Safety and Wellbeing Partnership Group (HSWPG) was established to:
- raise standards of workplace health, safety and wellbeing in healthcare organisations
- promote a safer working environment for all healthcare staff
- promote best practice across the NHS and independent sector.
The group has produced a range of useful guidance and information on topics such as, lone workers, managing musculoskeletal disorders and back pain, sickness absence and stress. Find out more.
Guidance on effective partnership working
The Health, Safety and Wellbeing Partnership Group (HSWPG) published The importance of effective partnership working on health, safety and wellbeing
to raise awareness of the importance of partnership working and to encourage it at a local level.
The guidance includes information on:
- why you should work in partnership on the health, safety and wellbeing agenda
- the functions of a safety representative
- what an effective health and safety committee looks like
- the legal requirements to consult on health and safety matters
- workplace inspections, including the legal requirements.
There are useful checklists throughout the guidance which you can use to see what progress your organisation is making, as well as what needs to be done.
Podcast on the importance of partnership working
Listen to the chairs of the Health, Safety and Wellbeing Partnership Group in this podcast talking about what successful partnership working looks like, the benefits and the positive impact that effective partnership working can have on the health, safety and wellbeing agenda:
- James Tracey, employer-side chair and senior human resources manager at Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust
- Kim Sunley, staff-side chair and Senior Employment Relations Adviser at the Royal College of Nursing.