The Coffee Break No 67

News updates this fortnight cover the future of the NHS, mental health and leadership. The coffee break is split into sections so you can easily scroll through each area of interest.

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The Future of the NHS

Firstly this fortnight, we take a look at a news article by NHS England about a pioneering advice line staffed by midwives. The midwives are available to give quick and expert advice to new and expectant mothers on labour, breastfeeding, sleep and other health problems. The phone line, available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, is part of the NHS Long Term Plan to make giving birth safer.

Staying with the NHS Long Term Plan a second news article by NHS England reports on a trial in 41 areas which sees patients choosing to be assessed and treated for common musculoskeletal conditions by a physiotherapist. The physiotherapists, based in GP practices, provide an alternative to waiting to see a GP for a referral to hospital. A poll shows that people are overwhelmingly in favour of this approach and the service will be rolled out as part of the NHS Long Term Plan which is expanding services at GP surgeries, with primary care networks joining up care across the community.

Moving on, the Kings Fund have updated their ‘long read’ ‘Brexit: the implications for health and social care’. Brexit has major implications for health and social care in England and this article looks at some of the latest development in staffing, accessing treatment here and abroad, regulation of medicines, competition law, the working time directive, cross-border co-operation and funding and finance.

Mental Health

Health Education England has published their final report “NHS Staff and Learner’s Mental Wellbeing” written to support the NHS Long Term Plan. The panel heard from staff working in the NHS whose wellbeing had been adversely affected by workplace experiences and by several families whose loved one ended their life whilst in the employment of the NHS. The Commission also heard from representatives of beacons of best practice where colleague wellbeing is supported and championed. The Commission’s aim is to see an NHS where staff and learners are happy and feel fulfilled in their work. There is good evidence that happy staff are more compassionate and provide safer care.


An article in the Harvard Business Review looked at the emotional impact of a feeling of ‘belonging’ within the workplace by surveying 1000 employed American adults. The study found that 40% of those surveyed feel physically and emotionally isolated at work. However, the study also found that 39% of respondents feel the greatest sense of belonging when their colleagues reach out on a personal level to enquire about their wellbeing. What didn’t improve a sense of belonging was impersonal face time with senior leadership; being invited to big or external events or presentations by senior leaders.

And finally this fortnight, a podcast by the Kings Fund looks at race inequality in the NHS workforce and how we can ensure representative leadership. The podcast asks the questions where the NHS is at currently on these issues, how it has changed over time, how health compares to other sectors and what is being done to improve things.