Welcome to our April 2021 Bulletin

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Dear Colleagues

Spring is here!

It seems quite incredible that we are already in April and I have now taken up the role of Chair of the Network. It really is a privilege to represent you and I look forward to what the next few years. In this month’s bulletin there is some invaluable information so please do take the time to have a read through. There is information about membership renewal – make sure you act swiftly to take advantage of the ‘early bird’ rate. In addition, if you want to join the Network Board – please do see which regional representatives are available – this is an excellent opportunity to ensure your regional voice is heard!

It was so good to ‘virtually’ see many of you at the recent Network Conference.  I hope you enjoyed the excellent speakers and chance to reflect and learn after what has been the most challenging year. For those who were unable to join us, we are finalising the edits on the recordings check and we will let you know as soon as they are available.

Moving forward, within the wellbeing & people plan agenda, NHSE/I are consulting on the revised Health & Wellbeing framework – look out for some virtual focus groups via your regional HWB Managers or surveys to complete to express your views.

Hoping that as we approach this Easter time you get chance for some well-earned rest!

Best wishes

Hilary Winch

Chair, NHS Health at Work Network


In this edition:

  1. Network Membership Renewals
  2. Network Annual Conference Follow-Up
  3. Join the Network Board
  4. Member Training Discount for the At Work Partnership Training Events
  5. Member Discount for the NHS Staff Experience Conference
  6. MoHaWK
  7. Legal Update
  8. FOM Guidance on Return to Work of Patients with Long-Covid
  9. HSE Resources
  10. Roundup: Useful Research and Resources

The next edition of the newsletter will be published week commencing 26 April 2021

1.    Network Membership Renewals: 2021-22

Thank you to all of our Members and Associates for your continued membership and support of the NHS Health at Work Network throughout 2020.  We launched our membership renewals for 2021-22 in our last newsletter and have had a fantastic response!  If you haven’t yet renewed, please make sure you do so before the end of April to take advantage of our early-bird offer!

2020 was a year like no other!  It was also a year of increasing recognition of the importance of occupational health specialist advice and support as organisations grappled with multiple complex issues arising from the Covid pandemic.  We’ve worked hard to represent and support our Members during this time, predominantly through close working with the Faculty of Occupational Medicine, NHS England and NHS Improvement.  I hope you have found the Covid section on our website a useful resource during this time.  We will continue to add to it over the coming year.

You can see the full range of Network benefits here including access to our annual conference, a MoHaWK licence, listing on our website as an OH provider for local businesses, discounts to training and events, and much more.

This year we are doing things slightly differently.  The normal cost of renewing for 2021/22 for our all-inclusive top membership package is £995 but we are offering an early bird rate of £795 if you complete and return the attached renewal form to admin@nhshealthatwork.co.uk by 30th April 2021. This will provide membership for all of your OH team until April 2021.  There are also a range of other flexible membership packages to suit your budget which you can see here.

Please complete the form and return to admin@nhshealthatwork.co.uk      

2.    Network Annual Conference Follow-Up

It was great to ‘see’ so many of you at our virtual live conference on 10 March.  We had over 300 delegates join us throughout the day to hear some brilliant speakers.  If you missed it, or want to watch again, our speakers slides are available for Network Members only here.  We are also finalising the edits for the recorded sessions and will let you know as soon as these are ready.

3.    Join the Network Board!

A number of our Board colleagues are coming to the end of their stint and so this is your chance to get involved in your Network!  A big thank you in particular to Helen Parsons and Sonal Mehta.  The vacancies are for the East of England, London and South East Coast regions.

Board members will need to be at OH Services which are Full Network Members.  They are expected to provide a communication link with members in their region so that they are able to represent their views at the Board meetings. The Board meets 3 times a year (twice via Zoom and once at the time of our annual conference).  Board Members get a free conference place.

More information and the application form are available here. The deadline for applications is Friday 30th. April.  To find out more, or for an informal discussion, please contact admin@nhshealthatwork.co.uk

4.    Exclusive Member Benefit: £200 Discount for the At Work Partnership Training

The At Work Partnership Certificate in Managing Mental Health at Work

6-8 July 2021, A virtual event.

The At Work Partnership is delighted to offer NHS Health at Work network members a discount of £200 + VAT for places on our Certificate in Managing Mental Health at Work. This practical three-day qualification from The At Work Partnership is designed to give OH professionals the in-depth knowledge, strategies, skills and techniques to successfully manage mental health at work. Book and pay by 15 May 2021 to qualify for our early bird rates.  More information is available from: http://ohaw.co/CMMHW

5.    NHS Staff Experience Conference: 20% Discount for Network Members

Healthcare Conferences UK are holding a virtual online ‘NHS Staff Experience Insight’ conference on Wednesday 21 April.  The conference is focused on improving staff engagement through and beyond Covid-19.  A 20% discount for Network Members with code HCUK20KH is available when booking here

6.    MoHaWK

Don’t forget if you want to ensure your continued access to MoHaWK, please renew your Network Membership and select membership level 2A or 3 which both give you another year of MoHaWK (see news item 1 above).  This is a significant benefit compared to the routine cost of a yearly licence.

Round 18 will remain open until Round 19 commences so that your Service can maximise the time period to enter data.  We have added in the ability to record worker experience feedback from video consultations in addition to the face-to-face and telephone-based experience sections already in the tool as many Services have started to use this form of assessment during the pandemic.

I have attached the briefing note for reference on the subject areas. Please do get in contact if you have any queries hilary.winch@nnuh.nhs.uk                       

7.    Legal Update

A construction company has been fined £250,000 after a self-employed ground worker sustained life-changing injuries in an incident involving a disc cutter.  Read this press release for full details on this prosecution.

Other recent enforcement news includes:

Chemical manufacturing company fined after employee scalded with boiling water

Foundry fined for exposing workers to hand-arm vibration risks

8.    FOM Guidance on Patient Return to Work with Long-COVID

Anne de Bono, President of the Faculty of Occupational Medicine draws our attention to recent FOM guidance for managers and employers on return to work, which is available here.

9.    HSE Update and Resources

The HSE have published their summary report from 17 hospital inspections as part of their Covid-19 spot-check inspection programme.  The inspections were carried out across December and January and OH teams may find the summary report useful for reflection and learning.

The law says you must consult with your workers about reducing risks from coronavirus in your workplace. HSE has updated its guidance to help you have conversations with your workforce about providing support and keeping control measures in place.

HSE has converted this advice to web pages so it is easier for people to find the information they need and we have expanded the guidance to include more advice on:

  • supporting higher-risk groups
  • returning to the workplace
  • ventilation and air conditioning
  • stress, mental health and wellbeing

The updated guidance will help you keep in touch with workers and support them as restrictions are eased in the coming months.

10.  Roundup: Useful Resources and Latest Research

New government guidance has been published on how to manage mental health and wellbeing during the pandemic. It suggests ways to look after our mental health, such as regular sleep patterns, connecting with others, and creating a daily routine.  The advice is general but also features a section for NHS and social care workers.

NHS England and NHS Improvement (NHSEI) announced the new wellbeing guardian role in January. A wellbeing guardian will generally be a non-executive director (NED), or equivalent, who will look at the organisation’s activities from a holistic health and wellbeing perspective, and act as a critical friend.

NHSEI has produced resources about the role and how it can be implemented in your organisation.

Wellbeing guardians and healthy workplace allies

Resources to develop and introduce wellbeing guardian roles (You can access the slides from the NSHEI launch event from this web page). 

View the wellbeing guardians web page for further information and how to integrate the work of the wellbeing guardian into your health and wellbeing role, responsibilities, and agendas.

See a blog on the Council for Work and Health’s website from Genevieve Smyth from the Royal College of Occupational Therapists entitled "Supporting NHS staff with Post COVID-19 Syndrome (Long Covid)" 

The University of Manchester have released a brief report into the suicide of female nurses.

Read the study presentation to SAGE on the ‘Symptoms and quality of life following hospitalisation for COVID-19’.  When translating this into our mainly NHS female workforce:

  • those whose been admitted to ITU and required invasive ventilation are more likely to continue for more than six months afterwards with fatigue and breathlessness. Some of them (1:4) are going to have some functional limitations i.e. vision, walking, cognition, communication or self-care
  • it is those women under the age of 50, who may be more likely to have these combination symptoms….. So the need for us to have clear structured rehabilitation i.e. therapeutic/phased return to work with longer periods of temporary reasonable adjustments seems to be likely


Read the report into the ‘Economic analyses of mental health and substance use interventions in the workplace: a systematic literature review and narrative synthesis’.  On the basis of 56 studies, the study found:

  • moderate strength of evidence that cognitive behavioural therapy is cost-saving (and in some cases cost-effective) to address depression.
  • strong evidence that regular and active involvement of occupational health professionals is cost-saving and cost-effective in reducing sick leave related to mental health and in encouraging return to work.
  • moderate evidence that coverage for pharmacotherapy and brief counselling for smoking cessation are both cost-saving and cost-effective.
  • Addressing mental health and substance misuse in the workplace improves workers’ wellbeing and productivity, and benefits employers bottom line (i.e. profit). 


The World Health Organization (WHO) have published their interim guidance on occupational health and safety for health workers.

University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire NHS Trust have published some interesting survey results on the perception of healthcare staff towards the COVID-19 and influenza vaccination here. The fuller version of the pre-proof study is available here