Skip to main content

New report provides insights on how to support NHS staff wellbeing through organisational interventions

The report is timely, as concerns around the working conditions and psychological wellbeing of NHS staff continue to rise.

A hospital room with empty beds

A new report entitled Organisational Wellbeing Interventions: Case Studies from the NHS has been launched to provide insights on how best to support staff wellbeing in the National Health Service (NHS). The report is based on a project led by Dr Kevin Teoh and Dr Rashi Dhensa-Kahlon from Birkbeck, University of London, in collaboration with researchers from the University of Sheffield, the University of Nottingham, and the Norwegian Science and Technology University.

Research has shown that wellbeing interventions that target the organisation and staff working environment work better than those that focus solely on supporting the individual person.

Based on interviews with individuals and teams that have run organisational interventions in the NHS to support staff wellbeing, the report provides insights from 13 such interventions to serve as examples. The interventions include overhauling staff rotas and shift patterns, removing bureaucracy and reducing meeting times, changing patient care processes, co-designing fatigue management strategies, and improving team formation and psychological support.

According to Dr Dhensa-Kahlon: "This project has been a discovery of just how much excellent work is being carried out across the NHS. Each intervention brought to life how relatively simple, yet efficient, changes to the working patterns of staff made huge differences to their overall well-being."

The research team summarised the learning from across all interventions into six principles to guide future organisational interventions aimed at supporting staff wellbeing in the NHS. These principles state that: staff wellbeing is a systems issue; interventions must be tailored to fit context; staff should be involved in the process; getting support from leaders is vital; interventions are iterative; and long-term planning is necessary.

The report details the learnings from these interventions, including important facilitators and barriers that affected the success of each intervention. Dr Teoh commented: "These findings highlight that where staff are given the opportunity to do so, they identify issues in their working environment that matter to them, and what can be done to change that. In most instances this led to better staff wellbeing, and what's amazing is that in some examples we see beneficial outcomes for patient care and financial savings for the organisation as well."

Dr Shriti Pattani, President of the Society of Occupational Medicine and Adviser to NHS England's Growing Occupational Health and Wellbeing Strategy, added: "I am pleased this report has been written, as often examples of good practice are not shared. These examples will hopefully inspire others to lead their own interventions, and shows that change for the better is possible."

Funded through the Birkbeck Wellcome Trust Institutional Strategic Support Fund and supported by the Society of Occupational Medicine, the report was launched at an online webinar on March 23, 2023. The full report and a copy of the webinar recording are available online.

Further Information

More news about: