The Department of Health (DoH) is to adopt measures to improve the health and well being of NHS staff which could help save the NHS up to £555m a year.
Following the publication of an independent report by Steve Boorman, which outlined how NHS organisations could tackle staff health and wellbeing and save up to 3.4 million working days – equivalent to 14,900 extra staff – the DoH accepted the report’s proposals and has set aside £6.5m to set up the national systems required.
Boorman’s report made 20 recommendations, including early interventions for staff with musculo-skeletal or mental health conditions, and making senior managers accountable for staff health and wellbeing.
The report also suggested that training in health and well-being should become an integral part of management training and leadership development at local, regional and national levels, and recommended that all NHS organisations set up a prevention-focused health and well being strategy staff.
Health secretary Andy Burnham said: “I am accepting Steve Boorman’s recommendations and committing to help NHS organisations implement them. We hope that by making these improvements we will provide real benefits for NHS staff and patients.
“We want to see the NHS become an exemplar for other organisations to follow, valuing its employees as it values its patients. Savings of up to £555m per year that we can reinvest in the NHS will undoubtedly improve the quality of patient care and, importantly in the current economic climate, save the taxpayer money.”
Clare Chapman, director general of NHS Workforce said: “Our announcement underlines our pledge in the NHS constitution to keep our staff fit and healthy.”
Boorman added: “There are remarkable examples of excellent practice in staff health and well-being throughout the NHS, and I fully support the government’s action plan to raise standards across the board.”
Karen Jennings, head of health at Unison, said: “Prevention is always better than cure and targeting problem areas like back injuries and stress will save staff from unnecessary pain and the need to take valuable time off work and away from patients.”