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last updated:16/03/2016 @ 1:59 pm
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A welcome focus on improving the health of health professionals

The announcement that NHS England is to link a proportion of payments to healthcare providers to the achievement of staff health and wellbeing goals (CQUIN) shows that the government acknowledges how vitally important the wellbeing of the NHS workforce is to healthy patient outcomes.

The average NHS worker is now taking more than 15 days off sick a year; the amount of “stress leave” recorded by hospital staff has risen by 37 per cent.

We are delighted to see the new recommendations within the CQUIN, and particularly welcome the focus on strengthening management and leadership skills within the NHS. However, the focus must shift from what’s easy to measure, like implementation of immunisation and health checks, to what’s important to change – improvements in management culture and workplace morale – if the ultimate goal of a healthy workforce is to be realised. We would like to see more ambitious targets set and met, and for Trusts to demonstrate that staff feel “the organisation really cares about my health and wellbeing”.

“When it comes to healthcare staff, we need the healthiest, most productive, most motivated workforce possible” said Dr Richard Heron President Faculty of Occupational Medicine. “The best employers already realise the performance and value they get from an engaged healthy workforce.

“Our hard-working healthcare staff deserve better healthcare support in their own workplaces. When doctors, nurses and allied health professionals are sick they need rapid access to the right support – for their own health and the health of their patients. This includes access to trusted occupational health services that care for the health of health professionals.”

Attracting and retaining highly trained staff is essential if we are to have the healthcare we need, when we need it. Expert reviews have highlighted that improved staff health and wellbeing reduces cost, improves care and enables NHS organisations to deliver improved services.

A healthy, resilient and motivated NHS workforce is not only fundamental to delivering a high standard of care to patients – but with 1.6 million people, the NHS is the largest employer in the UK. This means the NHS needs to be the role model for what good staff care looks like for employers across the UK. This is how we will improve the health of the working age population.

FOM has previously met with Simon Stevens, Chief Executive of NHS England, to champion the role that high quality occupational health professionals can and must play in supporting NHS employees.

We recommended:

1. Routine delivery of Board-level strategic advice by senior clinicians, competent and experienced in “what works” for improving good management practice (the bedrock of improved morale and staff wellbeing) for better staff health in NHS settings.

2. Occupational Health input into contract design for staff facilities and support (e.g. nutrition in healthcare settings, staff restaurants, third-party vendors).

3. Consistent implementation of the promises made to meet “Boorman review” recommendations to maximise staff engagement.

4. Rapid access for NHS staff to support when they need it; this means trusted, safe, effective, and quality assured occupational health services that are SEQOHS accredited.

But of course this makes the assumption that there are sufficient clinicians with relevant training in occupational health.

There is a need for more training in occupational health for all clinicians during their undergraduate training, postgraduate training and continuing professional development. Health Education England must also increase funding for trainees specialising in occupational health in order to meet this growing and clearly important need within the UK population. We need a healthy workforce throughout the UK for a healthy economy.

Background

CQUIN – Commissioning for Quality and Innovation (CQUIN) payment framework.

Given the financial challenges facing the NHS, and the need to continue delivering high quality care for our patients, the national goals seek to incentivise quality and efficiency.

The CQUIN payment framework enables commissioners to reward excellence, by linking a proportion of English healthcare providers’ income to the achievement of local quality improvement goals.

The value of the scheme offered is 2.5% of Actual Contract Value, as defined in the NHS Standard Contract where providers have chosen the enhanced alternative – the Enhanced Tariff Option (ETO). The percentage value earned will be dependant on provider performance.

National CQUIN goals are set annually to reflect national priorities.

Added: 16/03/2016 Posted In: Press Releases