Staff Advice and Support Hub launched at Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust has launched a new health and wellbeing hub to support staff in managing physical, mental and emotional health, financial pressures and positive wellbeing.
The Staff Advice and Support Hub pulls together a wide range of services and information under one roof, which is easily accessible from home or work and designed to support staff through the everyday pressures of work and modern life.
Dedicated advisers will be on hand to provide support to staff at the hub based at Gloucestershire Royal Hospital’s Beacon House. Key benefits include access to occupational health services such as specialist counselling and physiotherapy and a dedicated Employee Assistance Programme with access to a telephone counselling service 24 hours a day.
Emma Wood, Director of People and Deputy CEO, explains, “working in a hospital is a rewarding experience but at times we can all feel overwhelmed by either health, emotional and financial concerns. Our new hub will offer staff a single point of contact to gain advice and access the many services we offer staff in a simple and speedy manner.
“We recognise the importance of health and wellbeing in the workplace and our Staff Advice and Support Hub is a value statement in our journey to improve how we care for all colleagues. It’s a recognition that our staff are our best asset and to improve their experience, we want to help them better when they need workplace support.”
Services offered by the hub include:
- Physical health and wellbeing: access to a broad range of exercise and fitness classes; healthy eating, weight management and occupational health advice; and physiotherapy referrals.
- Mental and emotional health and wellbeing: access to a 24 hour telephone counselling service offering up to six counsellor consultations/sessions; and access to the hospitals clinical psychology staff support team.
- Financial health and wellbeing: support for financial management and access to information about NHS discounts and salary sacrifice programmes.
Coral Boston, Infection Control Nurse, commented, “I was aware that we offered support such as occupational health and physio services but to be honest I wasn’t quite sure how to access these or what other services were on offer. Having information about services under one roof and in one place on line makes a lot of sense to me and will make accessing these so much easier. Having additional services such as telephone access to a counsellor 24 hours a day feels like a huge step forward too.”
Research shows that healthy and happy staff decreases employee absence and increases commitment and morale. Every year over 170 million days are lost to sickness absence. The Government’s Black Review of the health of the working age population reported the cost to the economy is estimated to be £100bn each year. In the NHS alone, sickness rates are estimated to cost more than £1bn a year. Research shows that the longer people are off sick, the less likely they are to make a successful return to work.
Emma Wood added, “we know, for example, that musculoskeletal (MSK) and mental health issues are the main cause of absence at our Trust and account for about 35% of sickness absence. This service will provide a one stop shop where staff can easily access the information they need to get them back to health.”
A key priority for the hub is to improve the way that reasonable adjustments in the workplace are made. Almost 500 staff have self-declared as having long-term physical or mental health conditions. Ensuring these staff can work in the right environment with the right support and adaptations is an important message to colleagues.
Coral Boston concluded, “we know that we are only beginning to breakdown some barriers in relation to speaking up about mental health worries. Promoting a staff service and culture with a focus on mental health in this way is hugely encouraging. I’m sure it’ll be really well received by colleagues.”