Improving physical infrastructure

The Trust

Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

What did you do?

We used the NHS staff survey and friends and family data to focus on the day-to-day basics that employees need to support their physical and psychological health.

Employees identified that they valued having somewhere to go for a break, sufficient access to food and drink, open air spaces to spend time out of personal protective equipment and somewhere to rest if too tired to drive home after a long shift.

Following the results, we created our ‘rest and recreation’ programme, which aims to develop centralised spaces for employees to relax, get high-quality healthy food and unwind as well as supporting employees to make improvements to local break spaces.

We are also in the process of renovating an area in the trust to provide sleep pods for junior doctors and other employee working long shifts when it’s not appropriate to drive home.

How did you go about it?

We used money donated by the trust’s charity along with matched funding from NHS charities to fund the project. During the summer of 2020, we launched a ‘break room refresh’ competition, inviting teams to submit applications for their break spaces to be updated.

We received 75 applications and recently selected four winners. We are working with our charity and the winning teams on plans to makeover their areas. We are also looking at providing covered outdoor seating and designated garden areas.

What difference has it made?

We’re still on a journey and we are not where we want to be yet. Employees have responded well to our plans to improve outdoor spaces, providing courtyards, and introducing picnic benches and seating areas.

Even in winter employees say they value a few minutes outside after a long session in personal protective equipment and with the need to ensure social distancing in break rooms, having outdoor alternatives is really important.

What have you learned, which you would want to pass on to others?

Clear and frequent communication is very important, while we are in a planning phase though, change is not visible, so keeping employees informed and using employee side representatives to help cascade information is really crucial. We have found working with the charity a very positive experience.

Our collaborative approach encouraged us to submit an additional charity bid which has enabled us to offer health checks for employees in COVID-19 higher risk groups. It’s important to manage people’s expectations.

We must work within the funding available to us and we can’t realistically do everything all at once. It’s important to consider how you are going to prioritise the ask and make it into a longer-term commitment to continuous improvement.