Choosing 2 elements of wellbeing to focus on first

Chelsea and Westminster Hospital NHS Foundation Trust focused on 2 components of the Health and Wellbeing Framework to help prioritise activities

What we’ve done

Who we are

Chelsea and Westminster Hospital NHS Foundation Trust employs more than 6,000 staff in two hospital sites and 12 community-based clinics in London. We have over 1,000 beds and serve a population of 1.5 million people.

What we did

We started a workforce health and wellbeing programme in 2020/21, so this was relatively new for the Trust, with limited resources. We used the Health and Wellbeing Framework to review and strengthen our programme. We decided to focus on two elements first, to ensure it was manageable. We selected 1) personal health and wellbeing and 2) professional wellbeing support because we felt more confident in our knowledge around those and thought there may be areas to develop further here.

A health and wellbeing lead completed the Framework’s diagnostic tool for these two elements and shared the document with HR and other colleagues for input.

We took a conservative approach to RAG-rating our progress. The ratings are subjective and we didn’t want to paint an overly positive picture. There is a danger that a lead could rate something ‘green’ when this does not match staff perceptions and experiences. Therefore we rated elements as green only if we had staff feedback or data to support that. If we were uncertain or had doubts, we downgraded the rating.

We set up monthly meetings between the wellbeing lead and two senior members of the Trust to review the tool ratings and plan next steps. The wellbeing lead blocked out time each week to concentrate on moving the work forward.

Based on the diagnostic tool results, we selected areas to focus on where we were doing less well and areas where we were already rated ‘good’ but could do more to excel. We did not focus on the middling areas as a priority.

What we’ve achieved so far

We are setting up new initiatives to address our priority areas including:

  • serious incident debriefing
  • a practical guide to managing stress in the workplace and promoting Stress Risk Assessments for managers to complete with their staff
  • initiatives to assist with financial wellbeing such as pension workshops and supporting staff who are working whilst living with a serious illness or terminally ill
  • offering physiotherapy close to where staff live to avoid unnecessary travel
  • promoting that staff can request access to ergonomic equipment
  • fitness classes online and, over time, in-person at our sites

“The Framework helped us document where we were doing great things and what we could improve upon. We are in year two of a health and wellbeing programme, so we used this as a way to showcase successes so far.” – Trust representative

“We advise others to use the diagnostic tool to map what you are doing and what your needs are. Don’t rush to start new initiatives. Health and wellbeing programmes are not cheap. They cost time and money, so using the tool provides a strong foundation to build the work on.” – Trust representative

What we’ve learnt so far

  • Don’t underestimate the value of celebrating your successes and progress. This keeps motivation high and shows the value in continuing to invest in workforce wellbeing. We are excelling in some areas, such as in the range of mental health support available. Every wellbeing team has something to share with others, no matter how new or experienced you are. We had calls with other organisations and found we had advice to share, even though our programme is relatively new. Not only does meeting other organisations provide new ideas, it reinforces that you are making progress and have things to celebrate.
  • We have been choosey and focused on areas of higher need rather than trying to do everything. A lot of wellbeing teams are new and small, so we need to be realistic about which parts of the Framework will help us. The Framework contains several large documents and seven different elements. It may seem daunting at first. Our advice is that it is ok to start with one or two elements. That will help you see that you are doing well on a lot of subsections and there may only be a few targeted areas to improve.
  • We found it useful for a small group of our Trust staff to meet monthly to review actions and prioritise what to do. The diagnostic tool provides a framework that keeps our discussions focused. Having a working group with 2-5 people might work well to bring together different perspectives. We had monthly meetings with some of the senior leadership team as they report into executive team meetings.