Reviewing workforce wellbeing support in an ambulance service

North West Ambulance Service NHS Trust streamlined a diagnostic tool to explore health and wellbeing support

What we’ve done

Who we are

North West Ambulance Service NHS Trust is the ambulance service for North West England. Our 6,000+ staff are spread across more than 120 sites and serve a population of 7.5 million people.

What we did

We adapted the Health and Wellbeing Framework’s diagnostic tool to be useful for our service. Initially a small number of team members began completing the tool together, but it was complex and some of the questions were less relevant for ambulance services. Many of our people are on the road, so some of our wellbeing challenges are different and we felt like many of the basics were covered.

We created a shortened version of the diagnostic tool, streamlining so that all seven elements were on one spreadsheet page and focusing on the questions most meaningful for us. This made the tool more manageable and easier to share with others to gain their input. A wellbeing lead filled in elements of the shortened tool and circulated it to managers of various teams to provide information about their areas.

We are using the tool alongside our NHS Staff Survey results. For example, in the staff survey some people said they did not feel as connected to our organisation as others, and this may impact on retention. People’s health and wellbeing may influence how included and valued they feel, so we are using the framework as a tool to consider practical solutions.

What we’ve achieved so far

The diagnostic tool showcased what we are doing well and helped us undertake a gap analysis.

There is a substantial health and wellbeing offer, but we want to do more to promote everything available to our widely spread workforce. We have a workforce wellbeing newsletter which is now being themed into sections, like in the Health and Wellbeing Framework, to help promote the range of support available.

Our quiet rooms have been refreshed, so every site will have a room for staff to relax.

In future, we are interested in sharing ways to support workforce wellbeing across all the ambulance services.

“Working through the diagnostic tool shows how much we are doing and achieving. Now we need to focus on making sure the activities have an impact. We will be able to track change using the Framework, by reviewing in 12 months. The tool is a way of embedding health and wellbeing as part of our Trust values.” – Trust representative

“It’s important to have a joined-up narrative about what staff are telling us and how the organisation is responding. The Health and Wellbeing Framework can be used alongside the People Promise and staff survey results to take action.” – Trust representative

What we’ve learnt so far

  • The Health and Wellbeing Framework is flexible and can be adapted to the needs of each organisation. We found that it helped to shorten the diagnostic tool and make it more visual to engage with service managers. The tool creates a dashboard with graphs which helps when presenting information. We recommend others focus on elements that are most important for you, rather than trying to cover everything.
  • Health and wellbeing is everyone’s responsibility. Completing the diagnostic tool is not a job for a wellbeing or HR lead alone. Team leaders and service managers can contribute as they know what is working best and what the gaps are. Breaking the tool into sections was more manageable than trying to complete everything at once.
  • It is useful to have a formal governance process when applying the Framework. We are using an internal health and wellbeing assurance group to review our self-assessment and the priorities we are setting.