Boorman Final Recommendations on NHS Health and Wellbeing

Dr Steve Boorman has just published his final report and recommendations on how to improve the health and wellbeing of employees in the NHS. Reducing sickness absence in the NHS by a third would save £555m in direct costs, let alone the improvements we would see in staff productivity and patient care. Anyone with an interest in employee health and wellbeing strategy should take time to read it. His recommendations will not come as any real surprise to health and wellbeing practitioners but some are worth repeating here: 

We recommend that, when drawing up a staff health and well-being strategy, Trusts undertake a proper assessment of key health priorities and risk factors, which should fully reflect their legal requirements in this area.

It is refreshing to see attention being brought to the importance of assessing and measuring employee health and wellbeing before doing anything. This reflects the position I fully support and agree with.

We recommend that, as well as providing core staff health and well-being services to nationally specified standards, all Trusts should provide a range of additional staff health and well-being services targeted at the needs of their organisation.To do this they will need both to assess the specific needs and requirements of their staff and to engage with staff to determine the services they wish to see provided.

Again, Boorman makes it clear that as each Trust is a different employer, it will be vital for them to assess and measure their own specific needs. Or as I see it, don’t just do or buy something because everyone else is. Before committing any resource, make sure it is directed at what is going to meet your priorities and get you the best return.

We recommend that all NHS organisations put in place a staff health and well-being strategy developed with the full involvement of staff and staff representatives, and that its implementation is routinely monitored, reported and discussed with staff and their representatives.

So many wellbeing initiatives fall at the first hurdle because the people they are supposed to engage have not been engaged in any way at all before implementation. It is so important to get the right view of the employee wellbeing landscape by assessing and measuring it before launching anything. You can’t do this without asking your staff the right type of questions and getting a proper handle on what the real issues are as opposed to your mistaken perceptions.

The Department of Health says on its website that it has today published an action plan – which I can’t find – to implement the Boorman recommendations and set aside £6.5m to put in place the National Systems required.