Health and wellbeing guardians: guidance and support

Information and guidance for health and wellbeing guardians in your organisation.

23 October 2023

Protecting the health and wellbeing of your NHS employees is vital as without staff who are well at work, your organisation could not deliver quality and effective patient care.  As decisions made at board level can often impact staff, it’s important the health and wellbeing guardian on your board will help your senior leaders make sure the health and wellbeing of your employees is at the heart of your organisational strategy.

NHS Employers, on behalf of NHS England (NHSE), have developed two resources specifically designed to help you support your new health and wellbeing guardians in their role:

* Please note, when these documents were originally published in 2022, this role was called wellbeing guardian. From October 2023 the role is now called health and wellbeing guardian.

The resources have been developed in partnership with the NHS health and wellbeing guardian network, HRDs, NHS regional health and wellbeing managers, and NHS health and wellbeing leads. They are for NHS boards in large healthcare provider organisations and outlines how all board members play a vital role in supporting the health and wellbeing guardian to create a culture of wellbeing for their organisation.

Health and wellbeing in an organisation is everyone's responsibility and our senior leaders have a responsibility to support and champion the health and wellbeing of staff at board level. This guidance document and poster may be useful to your health and wellbeing guardian, human resources director and chair to help outline a discussion with your wider board level roles on how they support wellbeing of their employees in their leadership roles, and in doing so, support the wellbeing guardian.

The Long Term Workforce Plan has emphasised the importance of retaining our valued NHS workforce. Employers should be looking at their wellbeing offer and critically evaluating the experience of staff through all stages of their careers. The NHS People Promise explores the seven elements of creating a positive staff experience. A positive staff experience and a rounded support offer are vital to encouraging staff to remain in the workplace.


In 2019, Health Education England (HEE) published a NHS Staff and Learners’ Mental Wellbeing Commission report which recommended the creation of a board-level NHS Wellbeing Guardian (see page 14).

NHS England echoed this in the 2020/21 NHS People Plan that stated that every NHS employer should introduce a wellbeing guardian into their organisation. In 2021, NHSE launched their wellbeing guardian resources, detailing the roles, principles of wellbeing guardians, as well as an implementation guide.

Further information

For more information and resources to support your health and wellbeing guardian you can visit the NHS England website.