As part of the new workforce implementation plan, the government is promising the create a dedicated support system for NHS staff to access for mental health and wellbeing. The Department of Health and Social Care hopes that this immediate access will improve mental health across the organisation.
The pledge for mental health support comes from the recommendations made by Health Education England. While the government has not promised all of these aspects, these are what have been recommended;
* A 24-hour support service that delivers confidential advice
* Formal psychological assessments and post-incident support for frontline staff
* Fast-track referrals for NHS staff
* Suitable rest spaces for on-call staff and trainees which offers refreshments, security and shower facilities
* A workforce wellbeing guardian in every NHS organisation.
This advice comes as a result of mental health in the NHS report commissioned by the government in 2018. During which, Health Education England spoke to family members who have lost relatives through suicide and NHS workers whose wellbeing has been affected by their experience in the NHS. The government has now said that these recommendations will be considered as part of the new ‘workforce implementation plan’.
The measures that the government will introduce should hopefully reduce sickness absence as well as staff retention rates and performance levels. A recent NHS survey found that less than a third of workers felt that the NHS took positive steps to improve health and wellbeing.
Health Secretary, Matt Hancock said at the pledge announcement; “NHS staff have been there for me, and they have been there for my family – so I’m determined to make sure we are there for them too.”
The Chief Executive of Health Education England, Professor Ian Cumming said; “More support is needed for those who care and better care is needed for those studying to become healthcare professionals. This is why I am committed to making sure that the commission takes full advantage of this opportunity to make a real difference to the NHS health and care workforce and to those studying to become our future healthcare staff.”