Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Trust: An essential nutrient for staff wellbeing

Polly AshworthCollaboration at Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Trust during the pandemic has led to a new way of supporting staff wellbeing.

The trust’s Health Psychology team, Leadership and Organisational Development and Gloucestershire Health and Care Mental Health Liaison Services are working together to deliver high-quality therapeutic support for individual staff. Appointments are offered within 48 hours, including in the evenings and at weekends.

Alongside this, psychology link workers have forged links with teams and departments in the hospital. “We tried to link with every team, from maternity to the mortuary,” said Dr Polly Ashworth, Consultant Clinical Psychologist.

“We were welcomed in every department we reached. Where we had psychologists or mental health liaison team staff already embedded in teams as part of their usual role, these staff took on the psychology link work as well. We were able to appoint a temporary whole-time psychologist dedicated solely to critical care and they have worked in a more intensive way with staff in that team.”

 The link worker role has evolved to raise awareness of general psychological wellbeing messages, and deliver and explain trust guidance about the enhanced wellbeing offer and its ‘Every Name a Person’ programme. They are also supporting senior staff, offering help with how they support their team members, as well as providing light-touch support to individual staff and signposting to other services if needed.

Dr Ashworth added: “We have developed many new contacts across all levels of the trust and had a chance to work with new teams to integrate psychological ideas into their everyday work.

“As we face a future including COVID-19 we are hopeful of new opportunities to contribute to psychologically-informed care for staff and patients as part of new care pathways.”

“Rather than being seen as the ‘cherry on the cake’, we hope that psychology can act more like yeast and salt in the trust, present throughout; enriching, enhancing, preserving and an essential nutrient.”

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