Local NHS Trust wins national award for stress-management programme

The Occupational Health Department at North West Boroughs Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust has won the Healthcare People Management Association (HPMA), Vivup award for wellbeing.

The award was for delivering a successful workplace cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) and exercise based stress management programme.

The focus of the programme was on staff engagement, valuing their contribution and recognising the difficulties in which they work. Results showed reduced levels of staff stress, anxiety and depression post intervention and this translated to savings in sickness absence of £48,113. All of which was within six months.

The pilot study was undertaken at the Trust in 2017 to see whether a workplace stress-management programme might result in reduced absence. A key aspect of the programme was to acknowledging the participant’s individual work-based issues, and then to develop skills that would enable them to cope with their current situation by building resilience.

Stress in the NHS is a significant problem, and is estimated to cause 30% of total sickness absence, costing the NHS £300 – £400 million a year, which is why it needs to be addressed.

The Occupational Health Department at the Trust also have another reason to celebrate, as the service was granted full SEQOHS accreditation for a further five years. Safe, Effective, Quality, Occupational Health Service (SEQOHS), is a set of standards and accreditation scheme for occupational health services in the UK.

Judges of the Healthcare People Management Association (HPMA), commented:

“This is a ground breaking and exciting initiative that provides a shining example of reducing stress in the workplace and reducing absence’.

Participant feedback after each stress management session was also very positive:

“I feel I am more in control.”

“I have fewer negative thoughts as I am able to notice my triggers and not react.”

“I recognise that it’s not me but the situation, and so I am more able to address this emotionally and curb my reactions.”

Phil Waterworth, Occupational Health and Wellbeing Manager at North West Boroughs Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, said “We’re delighted and incredibly proud to have won this award and to get this recognition.

“Stress within the NHS is unlikely to be resolved given the increasing demands on the service. A combination of financial pressures, finite resources and asking staff to do more for less, is creating an environment conducive to stress.

“However we are really encouraged by the results of this programme, which is changing the way individuals think about their work and is boosting their resilience.”

For any other enquiries on the stress-management programme, contact the Occupational Health Department at the Trust: occhealth@nwbh.nhs.uk

Main photo – The award was collected by Phil Waterworth (Head of Occupational Health), Rachel Cowley (People and Organisational Development Business Partner) and Tracey Hampton-Smith (Cognitive Behavioural Therapist).




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