The Health Education England Health and Care Workforce Strategy for England to 2027 – Facing the Facts, Shaping the Future – announced a new Commission on the mental wellbeing of NHS staff and learners.

The report’sspurpose is “…promoting and supporting the wellbeing of NHS staff and those learning in NHS settings…” and to this end made a number of recommendations:

  • the introduction of “NHS Workforce Wellbeing Guardians” in every local, regional and national NHS organisation.
  • all NHS organisations appoint a Workplace Wellbeing Leader to work with and report to the Workforce Wellbeing Guardian.
  • the NHS Careers Service and the wider NHS should where necessary recalibrate the job and
  • career advice currently provided to schools, pupils and parents.
  • The NHS should publish and update regularly its advice on the flexibility in education and
  • training entry routes and career journeys into NHS careers.
  • Healthcare providers (such as GP practices, hospitals, and care home operators) on a local
  • (STP or ICS) footprint should create a schools’ work experience bureau service.
  • Training in self-awareness, self-care, support signposting (for self and peers) and suicide risk
  • awareness and prevention should be explicitly incorporated within each healthcare undergraduate and postgraduate curriculum.
  • When capital allocation to NHS bodies is being considered, there should be evidence that
  • estate development plans will also enhance or create space for staff and those who are learning in the NHS.
  • The Department of Health and Social Care and the NHS should implement a service which will ‘ensure rapid access’ referral pathways for NHS learners and NHS employees based upon a prioritisation request from either a primary care or occupational health clinician.
  • Trainees working on an on-call service must be provided with rest spaces and ‘designed for purpose’ on-call rooms that enable rest and sleep either during, before or after on-call shifts.

The report panel heard from staff working in the NHS whose wellbeing has been adversely affected by workplace experiences, and from several families bereaved by the death of a loved one who ended their life while in the employment of the NHS. The Commission also heard from representatives of beacons of best practice where colleague wellbeing is supported and championed. In addition, visits took place nationwide to find out more about how organisations are valuing, supporting and caring for their staff and for learners on undergraduate clinical education placements or receiving postgraduate training.

The recommendations made in the report will be considered as part of arrangements to develop the Workforce Implementation Plan which is underway and will be published in April.

Stephen McCaffrey

I am a GMC Defence Barrister who has represented large number of medical professionals before their regulatory bodies in either first instance proceedings or appeals.  I can help with all matters relating to GMC Fitness to Practise Referrals issues including:

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