The recent Boorman interim review has raised questions about the way staff are treated within the NHS.
Commenting on Dr Steve Boorman’s NHS Health and Wellbeing interim review, Ben Willmott, Senior Public Policy Adviser, Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD), said: “There is no doubt that a drive to improve health awareness and employee wellbeing across the NHS is a positive step to reducing absence levels and increasing productivity. However, it is important that Dr Steve Boorman’s interim report embraces how people are managed on a day-to-day basis by line managers and supervisors.”
Meanwhile, Marcella Pergande, Managing Director of Nursing at medical staffing organisation, PULSE, said: “We welcome this report. The NHS needs to take a more positive, more pro-active approach towards staff health and wellbeing. Historically there’s been quite a negative association towards occupational health departments in the NHS which sadly have been understaffed and under-resourced.” She explained how most of the shifts for staff requested by the NHS are not for staff off sick but to cover positions which have not been filled by fulltime staff. Empty vacancies are a problem which contributes to the stress and pressure felt by other staff.
Ben pointed out: “There is no point in providing employees with subsidised gym membership or advice on healthy eating and exercise if they dread coming to work because they have received inadequate training, they are bullied by their manager or they are drowning under their workload. Employees who are under stress at work because of excessive workloads or long hours are also more likely to eat less healthily, take less exercise and smoke and drink more.”
CIPD research shows that engaged employees who benefit from good quality line management and appropriate training and development and who feel they are trusted and treated fairly at work perform better, take less sick leave and are less likely to quit.
“One of the problems facing the NHS is that senior nurses, doctors and consultants are not given sufficient training in managing people. The CIPD believes that people management skills must be included as a critical element of the development of all professions involved in the delivery of public services.”
However it is not only training which is needed, said Dr Rick Norris, an occupational health consultant and chartered psychologist who specialises in mental health and works with NHS trusts. He explained: “One person in four suffers from stress, anxiety or depression. This news is a wake-up call to all employers that they need to adopt a more proactive approach to treating mental health.”
7 September 2009