Supporting staff health and wellbeing

Helping restore and replenish our people

We know many people are mentally and physically exhausted from the demands of responding to the pandemic and they will need time, space and support to recover. The overall health and wellbeing scores in the NHS Staff Survey did improve significantly in 2020, however, the proportion of staff reporting work-related stress also increased from 40.3% to 44%. 


Our people priorities for 2021/22, as set out in the national planning guidance are informed by what we have learnt during the pandemic. We aim to embed more preventative health and wellbeing approaches, tackle inequalities and boost efforts to attract and retain more people.  


One of the elements of Our NHS People Promise is that all our people should feel supported, safe and secure at work; “We are safe and healthy”. The health and wellbeing of our people is paramount. We need boards and leaders across the NHS to adopt a compassionate approach and prioritise the health and wellbeing of all staff so that it is a consideration in every decision and organisation. 


The comprehensive package of health and wellbeing support for our NHS people throughout the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond has been accessed more than 1 million times and received cross-industry awards since it launched in April 2020. The support, which can be accessed via our website, includes a range of helplines, apps and self-help resources, as well as training, coaching and guidance for teams and leaders.

This support will continue during 2021/22 as we transition towards sustainable models of support embedded within organisations and systems.

As part of our ongoing support for staff during COVID-19 and during recovery, mental health support will continue in the context of an organisationally-led, preventive approach which includes:

  • ensuring health and wellbeing is led by the board, and that the new wellbeing guardians (who sit on the board) are supported in their role and champion health and wellbeing consistently within organisations
  • equipping line managers and teams with the skills and tools they need to take ownership of health and wellbeing and that supportive, compassionate, health and wellbeing conversations take place routinely

  • staff mental health hubs: we have invested millions of pounds in mental health support for our NHS people in 2021/22 via the system-wide mental health and wellbeing hubs that provide proactive outreach and assessment services, ensuring staff receive rapid access to evidence-based mental health services.

The majority of employers now report having a systematic approach to health and wellbeing conversations.

Key innovations to come out of COVID-19 to support our people