Framework shaped new wellbeing role

University Hospitals Plymouth NHS Trust used the Health and Wellbeing Framework to shape a new Head of Wellbeing role

What we’ve done

Who we are

University Hospitals Plymouth NHS Trust is the largest teaching hospital trust in South West England. We employ almost 10,000 staff working in 350 different roles and have hundreds of volunteers.

What we did

We used the Health and Wellbeing Framework to plan and guide the selection of a new Head of Wellbeing post.

In the past we had a Head of Occupational Health. Using the Framework encouraged us to reframe this to focus on ‘wellbeing’ support. The Framework gave us a wider view of what counts as wellbeing for staff, so we moved away from a medicalised focus.

We asked candidates shortlisted for the role to give a presentation about how they would use the Framework and what outputs aligned to the Framework we could expect to see from them in the next six months.

We also used the Framework to self-assess what we were doing well and areas to concentrate on. Our Health and Wellbeing Steering Group used the Framework’s diagnostic tool. We identified a lead person for each domain and asked them to audit that element, sometimes with a small working group. For instance, our Facilitates Manager and a few others formed an environment subgroup tasked with assessing the environment domain. This helped us identify gaps and inform a strategy with actions.

What we’ve achieved so far

The term ‘wellbeing’ is broad and covers many things. The way we structure ourselves organisationally meant that it was hard to know where workforce wellbeing fitted in. Previously we took a narrower approach to wellbeing.  Using the Framework helped us be more holistic and encouraged departments to work together rather than duplicating.

We have recruited a new Head of Wellbeing committed to using the Framework to shape their work. Part of this will involve supporting leaders and managers to enact parts of the Framework, such as training people to have wellbeing conversations and thinking about using space flexibly. We are using the Framework to inform what happens at local team level, on wards, rather than solely at senior level.

“The Framework shaped the way we think about wellbeing at the Trust. Recruiting a Head of Wellbeing instead of occupational health sends a clear signal that we are changing the focus and embedding this as part of our culture to help staff thrive, grow and do their best.” – Trust representative

“Using the Framework helped different divisions of the organisation collaborate and showed the overlaps between activities. It highlighted the amazing work that is already happening and areas which could be improved upon to make wellbeing support more transparent and readily accessible.” – Trust representative

What we’ve learnt so far

  • Embedding in existing governance creates accountability. We assigned a senior person to oversee using the Framework and will monitor our new role and actions as part of our established governance structure. We linked the Framework explicitly to delivering our People Plan so it is embedded in our core work, not something extra. We aligned with the most appropriate committees to reduce duplication of reporting and oversight. For example, we used the domains in the Framework to present our wellbeing work to the People and Culture committee, a subgroup of the Trust Board.
  • Words matter. Having a Head of ‘wellbeing’ rather than ‘occupational health’ sends a message about how staff health and wellbeing is viewed and how broad it is. The Framework’s ‘wheel diagram’ is a simple visual aid that helped us show expectations for the role and illustrate our action plan.
  • Get the basics right first. We are a large acute trust with many other pressures. Many of our steering group members have clinical roles. We met every two months to review completion of the diagnostic tool and plan next steps. We used the Framework around our other priorities rather than rushing to do everything at once. We focused on developing a clear action plan with key deliverables, not covering everything in the Framework. We decided to focus on getting the basics right in each domain. For example, we believe it is important to make sure that people can access food and have control over their rotas before adding extras like workshops.