The RCP’s report, Work and Wellbeing in the NHS: why staff health matters to patient care, also found just over a quarter (28%) of NHS trusts in England have a plan or policy in place to help reduce obesity among staff.According to a 2014 RCP estimate, 700,000 NHS employees are obese.
Almost two-thirds (65%) of NHS trusts do have a plan in place around staff wellbeing and 57% have a policy to support employee mental health.
More than half (59%) of NHS employees said their immediate manager takes a positive interest in their health and wellbeing, an increase of two percentage points from last year.
Clinical director of the RCP Health and Work Development Unit Siân Williams said swift action is needed. “Trusts must consider staff health in all that they do; this includes the design of buildings, the work environment, and the work itself,” she said.
“No healthcare worker aspires to ill health and poor wellbeing, and many who experience it describe a sense of shame, embarrassment or guilt at having let down their colleagues.
“We owe it to those who work hard every day for our NHS to help them maintain and improve their health. And we owe it to our patients to provide a healthy, engaged workforce. Staff wellbeing should no longer be treated as an optional extra for the NHS – it is critical to patient care.”
NHS Employers CEO Danny Mortimer said the NHS faces “an uphill struggle” against growing pressure.
“We back the call for greater national support for this vital area, which builds on the work being done by many employers in the NHS,” he said.
“The NHS is one of the most rewarding places to work but it can be challenging too, so it’s important to make staff health a core part of NHS planning.”