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.