Five high impact changes

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22 / 4 / 2016 Midnight

Following the publication of the ‘What Matters to Staff in the NHS’ research in June 2008, Dr Steve Boorman’s review of the health and wellbeing of NHS staff and the NHS Future Forum report (Jan 2012), the Department of Health has developed five High Impact Changes focused on enabling NHS organisations to develop and embed health and wellbeing in their organisations and to meet the targets they have been set for reducing sickness absence.

Implementation of the five High Impact Changes will assist NHS organisations to:

  • improve the health and wellbeing of staff
  • reduce sickness absence levels
  • improve line manager capability
  • deliver improved patient care and outcomes.

The five High Impact Changes are:

1. Developing local evidence-based improvement plans

All NHS organisations will have a local improvement plan to address their local risks and issues. Plans will be developed in partnership with staff.

2. With strong visible leadership

All NHS organisation should shape a culture that reflects the NHS values in line with the National Leadership Council ‘The Healthy NHS Board’ (2010 and 2013).

To support this they should have a named executive board member with responsibility for staff health and wellbeing.

The board should review progress against their improvement plan at least twice per annum.

All NHS organisations should work to three key health and wellbeing initiatives:

  • Public Health Responsibility Deal
  • Safe Effective Quality Occupational Health Standards
  • NICE Public Health guidelines

3. Supported by improved management capability

All NHS organisations should promote awareness of the importance of staff health and wellbeing among managers. NHS Employers will develop and promote information to help managers to support their staff including:

  • effective return to work interviews
  • recognising and supporting staff who show signs of stress
  • addressing health and wellbeing in appraisal
  • specific issues e.g. musculoskeletal and mental health.

4. With access to better, local, high-quality accredited occupational health services

All NHS organisations will ensure Occupational Health (OH) services are accredited. All NHS Occupational Health services will be accredited in the six core elements of OH services:

  • health and wellbeing promotion
  • health assessments for work
  • prevention
  • timely intervention
  • effective rehabilitation
  • staff training

NHS Employers will provide information to support:

  • good practice in the six core elements
  • planning and development of OH services.

NHS Health at Work will support the development of Occupational Health in the NHS to ensure it can provide the services required. 

5. Where all staff are encouraged and enabled to take more personal responsibility

The Department of Health will work with the Health and Work Development Unit to support organisations that are most challenged to reduce levels of sickness absence. All NHS organisations should implement the NICE guidelines on Public Health. All NHS organisations will encourage staff to have the flu vaccine.

These include:

  • smoking cessation
  • obesity
  • long term sickness absence
  • mental wellbeing
  • physical activity
  • site design.

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