Healthy working environments


The NHS staff and learners’ mental wellbeing commission report published by Health Education England highlights the importance of healthy working conditions in providing patients with quality care. Here are our top tips for a healthy working environment:

  • Access to safe and secure on-call facilities to allow staff to sleep, change and store their belongings. For example, Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust used their funding to install sleep pods. Sleep expert Michael Farquhar welcomes the investment and offers recommendations in his blog
  • Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust are working to reduce the risks associated with tiredness, particularly during night shifts. Take a look at their dedicated #SleepWell support.
  • Dedicated spaces separate from patients to enable staff to properly rest, relax and recharge throughout their working day are vital for physical and mental wellbeing, as well as, preventing errors and mistakes. Read about how The Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Foundation Trust revamped their tired staff room to be fit for purpose as a space for NHS staff to relax and re-energise. 
  • Ensure across all sites there are areas to rehydrate and refuel. Staff should have access to store and prepare food including fridges and microwaves, as well as, clean drinking water. Healthy vending machines or trolley services ensures staff working night shifts always have access to nutritious food. Read more about West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust’s simple and collaborative solution to keeping staff hydrated. 
  • Develop infrastructure and facilities to promote active lifestyles and help staff improve their fitness and physical wellbeing. For example, exercise facilities, secure spaces for showering and changing and cycle parking. See Luton and Dunstable University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust’s ‘Fit in 50’ initiative about their approach to encouraging active lifestyles in staff. 
  • Take a holistic view to staff experience of the working environment by linking in with colleagues from the safety team. Read about University Hospitals Bristol NHS Foundation Trust collaborative working and why they decided to link health, safety and wellbeing. 
  • Ensure staff have access to parking. Milton Keynes University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust have set up working groups to determine how the trust can deliver guaranteed access to free parking.  

You can read the full NHS staff learners’ report and executive summary on our dedicated web page. 

For more information on how to effectively implement a healthy working environment, take a look at the NHS Health and Wellbeing Framework.


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