Case Study - Leicestershire Health & Wellbeing Initiative

Leicester City Community Health Service (now Leicestershire Partnership NHS Trust)

Kshama Srivastava, Head of HR 

The initiative was a runner up in the 2011 HPMA Awards for excellence in improving employee health and wellbeing.

What we did

Leicester City Community Health Service undertook a full organisational risk assessment. 

Based on the outcome of the assessment, 16 core workplace features were identified as having either a negative or positive impact on staff’s health. Six key interventions that would reduce the negative impact and enhance the positive impact of these workplace features were created.

In conjunction with this, a new sickness absence policy and a stress risk assessment policy was launched in April 2010 to tackle high levels of sickness absence.

Background - Why

The need for the initiative was the result of the 2008 and 2009 staff survey results, a high sickness absence rate for the Trust, recognition of the link between a healthier workforce and quality of patient care and recommendations from the interim Boorman report. 

The Trust wanted measures that were meaningful and bespoke to the organisation, therefore undertook a structured approach, tailored for the organisation, rather than an ad hoc approach.

The approach

We employed an independent organisation, Zeal Solutions, specialising in reviewing health and work to undertake a full health and well being audit of the whole workforce. Via the use of questionnaires, focus groups and feedback sessions, this audit process provided meaningful and bespoke information on the health and wellbeing of our workforce. The starting point was to ask staff what was good and what was not so good in their workplace and then design the project accordingly by identifying the impact of good and not so good areas on their health and well being.

Based on the outcome of this, we launched a Health & Wellbeing Initiative that focussed on the interventions that would have the biggest effect on improving the health and wellbeing of staff. These included

  • MSK Early Intervention Scheme :existing therapy services used to provide services to employees with MSK problems to prevent them going off work on sickness absence or to aid earlier return to work from sickness absence. 
  • Supportive Management Behaviour training :Launched a bespoke ‘train the trainer’ supportive manager scheme for our managers to ensure they have the qualities that were deemed as effective following the audit. 
  • Mental Wellbeing Group : Tackling interventions that could improve the mental wellbeing of staff, including the online I-Resilience tool, NLP workshops undertaken by over 100 nominated staff members, providing them with tools and skills to cope better with change in the workplace. Staff trained as NLP practitioners also available as a source of support for others to access. 
  • Physical Fitness Group : launched it’s a knockout day with approx. 80-100 staff taking part to promote physical fitness and to launch the health and wellbeing interventions in September 2010. Champions of particular physical activities have been highlighted across the Trust including Walk, Jog, Run schemes. 
  • Education and Prevention Group : launched to arrange education sessions for staff on topics such as healthy eating, smoking cessation, back care, diabetes etc. using in house expertise and resources. 
  • Incident Reporting Scheme : Launched to improve the incident reporting procedure, including feedback being given to staff.

Communication with staff played a key part whereby we used a number of methods such as

  • Staff briefings
  • Newsletter
  • Dedicated health and wellbeing page on staff intranet
  • Email updates
  • Team meetings and briefs
  • Visibility at AGM and other events

The Outcome

The sickness absence rate dropped from 4.8% to approximately 3.8% overall and the Trust achieved one of the lowest sickness rates in the region.

21 managers were trained to be trainers for the Supportive Management Behaviours programme and this is now being rolled out to all managers.

2010 staff survey results of Leicester City Community Health Service showed an improvement in the health and wellbeing categories across all directorates, which include:- 1) General health of staff 2) Less pressure to attend when unwell 3) Less difficulty in completing duties due to ill health 4) Line manager support of health and wellbeing 5) Work is generally good for health These improved results were achieved at a time when the Trust was going through the national cost reduction and Transforming Community Services programmes.

Key Learning Points for other Trusts

  • Planning stage is the key 
  • It is important to work on information specific to your Trust rather than taking a blanket approach. This helped us to prioritise resources and maximise returns.
  • Allocate resource – Not too much but you can’t do it properly for free
  • Buying commitment from the Board and Senior Management Team
  • Regular communication showing results
  • Engage staff at all levels

The difference

Feedback on Supportive Manager behaviour training:

“Training was very user focussed, clear precise message passed across. Touched on everyone’s aim of the day. Trainers were very experienced and used situations in which they were to help us during the course.”

Feedback on MSK service 

“I self-referred myself to the MSK service following a problem with my back. An assessment was done over the phone and I had an appointment within days. The root cause of problem was explained to me simply and exercises given to promote recovery. The member of staff was friendly but professional, and made me feel comfortable. After a couple of appointments I was discharged following a full recovery. This intervention prevented the problem from getting worse and kept me at work instead of going off sick!”  

For additional information please contact Kshama Srivastava, Head of HR (0116) 295 1193 or 07826 903 707

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