Northamptonshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust launched a new wellbeing strategy in the summer of 2018, which included a wellbeing conference in July 2018 attended by over 400 staff. The strategy focused on 4 main areas:
- occupational health support offer: expanding to include counselling and high-intensity psychological support and greater nursing capacity
- availability of mental health support: introducing a mental health network to support staff to remain in work, trust-wide resilience training and increased mental health first aid training
- policy review supported by implementation training: complete re-focus of the attendance management policy, development of supporting materials such as ‘your back-to-work roadmap’ and ‘wellbeing wheel’ to facilitate informal discussions between staff and their line managers, supported by training in how to have supportive conversations about health and wellbeing
- Developing key performance indicators (KPIs) and progress monitoring mechanism: monitoring.
Since the trust began their NHS Health and Wellbeing Improvement Collaborative, they have reported greater stability in sickness absence rates, moving from a 1.75 percentage point variation between the highest and lowest months in 2017/18 to a 1.02 percentage point variation. This improved stability was particularly evident between November and February 2018/19 (typically the months with the highest sickness absence rates for all trusts), where sickness absence rates varied between 5.29% and 5.32% (0.3 percentage point variation). During the same period the previous year this was 5.24% to 6.11% (a 0.87 percentage point variation). Improving stability makes staffing levels more predictable to plan for and manage and puts the trust in a better position to identify improvement.
In the 2018 staff survey, the trust had a higher than average number of colleagues reporting they believed the trust to be taking positive action on health and wellbeing.