A BBC health reporter on June 24th published an article that included;

‘Guidelines from the health watchdog, NICE, urge employers to make sure their staff work reasonable hours and take regular breaks’.

‘NICE says healthier workplaces will not only benefit staff, but also increase the productivity of businesses’.

‘Figures indicate work-related illnesses cost society about £13bn a year’.

I pondered over the article and thought about the 1.2 million staff employed in the NHS alone - those people that provide care for us when we are as individuals often at our most vulnerable. Surely, it’s going to be quite difficult to ensure healthcare staff are happy, after all they can be dealing with the most difficult and stressful of situations - accidents, illness, death and bereavement. I’ve mentioned my concerns for the happiness of direct care givers but it goes so much further – what about the managers, the porters and cleaners – the list could go on. Do we do enough to consider their health and happiness?

For me making healthcare work happier and healthier means staff need to be and feel valued. What makes us feel valued? Some might say appropriate monetary reward but I think it goes much further. There need to be the right number and mix of staff that are well supported , have access to appropriate learning and development so they have the right knowledge and skills and know they have done the best they can for their patients every day. I’m sure many; if not all healthcare related organisations do have HR policies in place that support good working practices, but do we really walk the talk? After all, it’s our health chiefs that are saying bosses should do more to make work happier and healthier.

I know there will be pockets of excellence out there but I am concerned healthcare organisations and their bosses have so many conflicting priorities to deal with that often the contribution of the staff, their value and happiness is overlooked. Can and should we be doing more? I’d be interested to know your views……….

To read the BBC article, please follow the link.

Janice Parfitt

Comments

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Andrew Lovegrove

Agree with your reflections Jan, I'm at risk of over-simplifying things but to me its common sense; if we look after those who are responsible for looking after others then everyone is a winner.

Hilary Wyles

Working on the "front line" in the NHS is tough and demanding - very stressful at times. I totally agree, Jan, that having a happy and healthy workforce is important. If people are happy they are more likely to stay. That applies in the health sector as it does in every other sector. The pressure on NHS staff is immense but going to work shouldn't be an endurance test! Providing the right support to healthcare staff, access to appropriate learning and development etc can only be a positive thing and, ultimately, will enhance the quality of patient care.

Susan Hart

As a nutrition coach I deliver healthy eating workshops to organisations and one of the aims is not only to help increase business productivity but to make the workforce healthier (and hopefully happier)

I just wish more business realised that a healthy workforce can mean a healthy business. Susan Hart

John Stern JohnStern

Thanks Janice. I have the same opinion

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