Health and Wellbeing

It has been an extremely tough year for the NHS. No one can argue with just how amazing staff have been in stepping up to face the unprecedented challenges thrown their way, and with the admirable resilience they have shown when adapting to changes never seen before in NHS history. With many teams being moved to home working, staff redeployed into new roles, and hundreds of thousands of people and their families being affected by the virus, the health and wellbeing of staff – more than ever before – has been at the top of the priority list for NHS organisations.

Working with the Value Maker network, we have heard and learnt about some fantastic and inspiring initiatives from different finance teams and NHS organisations across the country that have been put in place to support staff during this unsettling time. From buddying schemes with daily check-ins and a cuppa, to support sessions for BAME staff, there is a wealth of good practice across the country that we can learn from and look at implementing as standard practice in future.

Supporting BAME staff at Leeds Teaching Hospitals

Mohammed Bilal is a Programme Manager within the Finance Department at Leeds Teaching Hospitals. In addition to working in the finance department, Bilal is also co-chair of the staff BAME Network. The virus has disproportionately affected BAME communities and, because of this, Bilal’s role as chair of the BAME Network has become his day job rather than his finance role, so that the Network has more resource to support BAME colleagues at the trust. Working with the HR Director, Bilal set up a steering group to ensure support was in place, which is made up of colleagues from HR,  Occupational Health, Clinicians, the BAME network and Equality & Diversity colleagues. The group have developed processes and plans to help BAME staff who feel stressed, worried or anxious during this period. Bilal says, “Personally, I have been invited to attend and contribute to national and local webinars to share the work we are doing, as well as share my own personal reflections of being BAME network chair. Within my Trust I have arranged and chaired weekly virtual meetings for our BAME staff to share their anxieties and to help us develop a plan that supports them the best way possible. These virtual meetings have been attended by nearly 200 staff and helped grow our Network. Our membership now has more than 400 staff across the trust.”

Buddying Scheme at Gloucestershire Hospitals

“This has been an incredible scheme for staff wellbeing. It has been extremely beneficial for me during these lockdown months and the fact that I have had someone I could talk to on a daily basis about anything without judgement has helped me to feel connected and part of someone’s else life.” Lurdes Magalhaes, Procurement Capital Specialist, GHFT

Online Fitness Platform at Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust 

“Protecting the health and wellbeing of staff is so important, particularly as we continue to deliver services through this period of increased pressure.”

Professor Sultan Mahmud, Director of Innovation, Integration and Research for RWT

Weekly staff survey at Central Lancashire CCGs

Since Covid-19, all staff have been encouraged to complete a weekly health and wellbeing survey which is circulated every Wednesday in the WOW (Wellbeing and Opportunities at Work) newsletter, with the results shared within the weekly communications on a Monday. The questions ask staff about how they’re feeling, their work environment, IT equipment, and for them to compare their current week to the previous week. The final question is ‘Would you like to be contacted by HR to discuss anything further?’ to ensure staff have proper support throughout this time.

Grow Your Own project at Lancashire & South Cumbria NHS FT

Finance staff have been involved in the Grow Your Own (GYO) project based at Guild Park, which provides opportunities for service users and staff to grow plants and food in the gardens; increasing healthy activity, which, in turn, boosts mental health. Usually 30+ service users a week are working on the project but during the pandemic this has not been possible. Finance staff at the Trust have been working tirelessly to keep it on track until they return. Katherine Tomlinson says, “I’ve been down to the GYO Project several times now and have enjoyed every minute. It’s great to get away from home and spend time in the outdoors. Everything I’ve planted is actually growing which is great to see!”.

Twitter @AlderHeyFinance

The finance team at Alder Hey Children's Hospital already had a strong presence and following on Twitter, however during the pandemic they revamped their account to celebrate successes of the team every month in ‘What’s Tweetin?’ They also introduced a hashtag initiative on certain dates each week to bring the community together and support one another:

#MotivationalMonday #WellbeingWednesday #ThankyouThursday #FeelGoodFriday

VM Facebook group ‘wellbeing check-ins’

A VM Facebook group was created and launched on 13 August 2019 by Lead VM for the North East– Rikki Siddle, Associate Director of Finance at County Durham & Darlington NHS FT. The aim of the group was to support VMs by giving them an easily accessible platform to seek assistance, share best practice and more importantly, to support each other. During this unprecedented year of dealing with the Covid-19 pandemic – and the many challenges allied to it – it has been fantastic to see how the VM community on Facebook has responded. Whilst there have been many posts throughout the crisis, the one which struck a chord with most were the weekend ‘check-in’ posts. Introduced initially by Gayle Wells at Mersey Care, and continued valuably thereafter by others, the check-ins provided huge engagement and helped capture perfectly where we all were mentally and any support needed.