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14 Feb 2019

REBA Award Winner: North Bristol NHS Trust - Most improved

REBA's Employee Wellbeing Awards 2019 Most Improved category winner is North Bristol NHS Trust - and here's why it won: 

North Bristol NHS Trust

Size: 8,000

Sector: Public sector healthcare

Initiative: NBT Staff Wellbeing Programme

What North Bristol NHS Trust did
North Bristol NHS Trust (NBT) took its first steps towards better wellbeing with a six-month pilot scheme in early 2017, featuring a broad programme of workshops, interventions and benefits to support staff health. Following its success, the Trust secured the funding to roll out the NBT Staff Wellbeing Programme for all of its 8,000 employees, with the backing of senior leaders and funding for two wellbeing staff.

However, when NBT evaluated the pilot, it found that many staff simply felt too busy to allow themselves the time to step back from caring for patients and look after themselves. With 2,000 patients a day coming through the doors of its hospitals 24/7, NBT’s staff were under the well-publicised pressures that affect healthcare staff across the UK and cost the NHS as a whole £1 in every £40 of its budget in sickness absence.

NBT sought out the backing of its Chief Executive to help support its wellbeing messages and encourage staff to get involved. It also reinforced its commitment to employee wellbeing by introducing the strap line “your health is as important as our patients’ “. Another finding from the pilot was that the breadth of the programme was confusing. The Trust created a new brand identity to bring the strategy together and changed the format of web pages, leaflets and posters to help everyone navigate through the options available to them.

North Bristol NHS Trust also introduced a network of champions to signpost people and one-to-one sessions for individuals who had complex circumstances. It also focused on making sure that staff who work unsocial hours or in roles where there is little opportunity for a break could be involved as well.

By the end of 2018, the Trust expected to have managed 3582 separate wellbeing ‘contacts’ with staff. By August 2018, the programme had saved over £230,000 in salary costs, with a forecast of over £355,000 for the full year, based on direct salary costs of sickness absence. That gave the programme a net saving which will be re-invested into patient care.
Patients have benefitted in other ways as well – there is now research to show that improving staff health and wellbeing drives an improvement in the quality of patient care as well.

NBT are now planning even more improvements and expansions to their programme, to ensure that they can reach more staff and enable even further reductions in sickness absence.

The Trust took a step-change decision to look after the wellbeing of its staff in order to improve patient care in 2017. The launch of a pilot and subsequent roll-out of an impressively wide-ranging, top quality programme demonstrates its commitment.

Our judges praised NBT for identifying areas for further improvement when they evaluated the pilot. They were impressed with the philosophy behind “your health is as important as our patients’ ” and its endorsement by the CEO, to encourage employees to think about and value their own wellbeing. The changes that NBT made demonstrate how important good quality communications are to the success of a wellbeing strategy, and judges were impressed that NBT had focused on making sure that its wide-ranging programme really resonated with its employees.

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