Welcome to our February 2021 Bulletin

/Board members/Shriti_Pattani

Dear Colleagues

I hope you are keeping well and managed to get a brief respite from work over the Christmas period.  Unfortunately with the latest lockdown it feels very much like groundhog day, although with the new vaccine implementation in full swing there is light at the end of the tunnel.  I know OH teams are all working incredibly hard as part of the mass vaccination effort and it is great to hear of the fantastic, albeit exhausting, progress that is being made.

Our February 2021 newsletter contains information on registering your free place at our virtual conference on 10 March for Network Members - we have a great line-up of speakers and delegate places are unlimited so do please encourage all your team to sign-up for this event.  I look forward to 'seeing' you there!

Warm regards


Chair, NHS Health at Work Network


In this edition:

1. Annual Conference: 10 March 2021

2. MoHaWK

3. PHE: Better Health Resource Pack

4. NHS Staff Support: Poster Resource Pack

5. OH Staffing Framework – Extended

6. Long-Covid Guidance for Healthcare Professionals

7. NICE: Long-Covid Guidance

8. HSE Update

9. Useful Research

10. SOM/PHE Webinars

The next edition of the newsletter will be published week commencing 22 February 2021

1.    Our Annual Conference: Wednesday 10 March – Register Now!

As a result of the continuing Covid-19 restrictions we have taken the decision to hold our Annual Conference as a ‘live’ virtual Zoom event, rather than the traditional face-to-face conference format.

The conference will run from 09.00 – 16.15 on Wednesday 10 March 2021.

Whilst it will be disappointing for us not to manage our usual get-together, I am delighted to be able to advise that for the first time ever the conference will be available to every single member of the team who work in OH Services registered as Full or Associate Members of the Network.  

We also appreciate that whilst work demands may limit the numbers able to join us ‘live’ on the day, all the speakers’ presentations will be recorded and held on our Members-only area of the website for colleagues to be able to watch at their leisure any time over the following 6 months.

We have a great line up of speakers confirmed including: 

  • Dame Carol Black (Expert Adviser on Health and Work)
  • Dr Anne de Bono (President of the Faculty of Occupational Medicine)
  • Dr Olivia Donnelly (Consultant Clinical Psychologist)
  • Professor Em Wilkinson-Brice (Deputy Chief People Officer, NHSE&I), and
  • NHS Occupational Health leaders presenting some thought-provoking case studies

To register your place please e-mail admin@nhshealthatwork.co.uk

Please ensure you share this message with every member of your team who wishes to attend the ‘live’ event and encourage them to e-mail admin@nhshealthatwork.co.uk to guarantee their conference place.

For those of you who have previously booked and paid for additional delegate places, we have recently written to you with your options.  Please get in touch if you haven’t seen this letter.

The full conference programme and timings will be published soon, but please do start to reserve your places from today!

2.    MoHaWK: Round 18 is Open

As we start this New Year we have now opened up Round 18 and closed off Round 17.

For Round 18, 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. In addition, as the Round progresses we are hoping to release some benchmark elements around the COVID work - watch this space for these updates.  It will not require any actual data pulling so will be easy to submit an entry for these areas.   

The routine data collection for the majority of topics is the month of December and so you can pull your data accordingly.  You may wish to just focus on one or two indicators per month making the data collection more manageable during these times. 

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 

3.    PHE: Better Health Resource Pack

COVID-19 has affected the whole country; for almost everyone, life has had to fundamentally change.  But it has also prompted many people to reflect and think more seriously about their health. Capitalising on this opportunity to inspire healthy changes across the nation, Public Health England first launched the Better Health campaign in July and encouraged the nation to eat better and get more active.

2021 offers another unique opportunity to motivate, galvanise and encourage adults to make a positive change, at a time when new research reveals that eight in ten adults plan to make at least one change to their health and wellbeing in 2021. 

The Resource Pack is available here 

4.    NHS Staff Support Poster Resource Pack

NHS England and NHS Improvement have developed a range of health and wellbeing posters reflecting a wide range of staff and care settings to encourage more and more staff to access support if and when they need it.

Acute Hospitals

Ambulance Trusts

Mental Health Hospitals

Primary Care Trusts

5.    OH Staffing Framework - Extended

NHS England and NHS Improvement have developed a simplified framework that enables NHS organisations to easily and quickly procure additional temporary Occupational Health services to support them with the increased pressures due to Covid-19 and the winter pressures expected in the coming months where they have insufficient inhouse capacity. This has now been extended for a further 9 months to ensure that we can support NHS organisations through and beyond the second wave of Covid-19, winter pressures and support the Covid - 19 Vaccination programme once this is available.

6.    Guidance for Healthcare Professionals for Return to Work with Long-COVID

The Faculty of Occupational Medicine has published this timely guidance, developed under the leadership of their new Academic Dean, Dr Ira Madan.

A FOM multidisciplinary group developed this guidance aimed at all healthcare professionals to assist them in facilitating the return to work of people who are unable to work due to long-COVID.  The guidance was developed alongside the NICE/RCGP/SIGN COVID-19 rapid guideline: managing the long-term effects of COVID-19, published on 18th December 2020.

The FOM guidance is intended to complement and supplement the NICE guideline. It has deliberately not duplicated guidance on the management of the long-term effects of COVID-19 but have focussed on functional impairment which may lead to obstacles to RTW. Where the multi-disciplinary group were unable to find evidence for their guidance in the peer-reviewed literature, they based their advice on general occupational health principles.

7.    NICE: Long-Covid Guidance

Guidance on the management of the long-term effects of COVID-19 has been issued by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence. It covers care for people who have signs and symptoms that develop during, or after, an infection consistent with COVID-19, continue for more than four weeks and are not explained by an alternative diagnosis.

8.    HSE Update

Employers should consider the risk to workers who are particularly vulnerable to coronavirus (COVID-19) and put controls in place to reduce that risk.  The page on how to protect vulnerable workers during the pandemic has been updated to reflect the new national restrictions. From 5 January the government says that anyone who is clinically extremely vulnerable should not attend work and should only work from home, as coronavirus cases are rising rapidly across the country.

You can find guidance on who is clinically extremely vulnerable and what further support may be available from Public Health EnglandHealth Protection Scotland and Public Health Wales.

The page on protecting vulnerable workers during the pandemic also includes advice on:

  • supporting workers in higher-risk groups
  • accessing COVID-secure precautions
  • pregnant workers

If you have people working from home as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, HSE has advice for employers to follow. Issues to be considered include:

  • lone working without supervision
  • working with display screen equipment (DSE)
  • keeping in touch to recognise signs of stress and mental health problems 

It should also be noted that employers must provide and pay for eye tests for any employees that are display screen equipment (DSE) users – workers who use DSE daily, for an hour or more at a time.

The HSE has also issued new guidance for First Aid Training.  The policy position is that first aid training required to comply with health and safety or other legislation can continue to take place under relevant coronavirus restrictions in England.  All possible measures must be taken to ensure that both training activities and environment are COVID-secure.

Under current restrictions, some premises are closed to the public or are prohibited from carrying out their normal business. These premises can be considered for use as training venues, providing the conditions outlined above are adhered to.

All businesses and individuals should adhere to current regulations and follow relevant government guidance

HSE’s current guidance on first aid certificate extensions covers all of GB and remains unaltered.

9.    Useful Research

Please see the latest research: Antibody Status and Incidence of SARS-CoV-2 Infection in Healthcare Workers – including participation by our Network Members at Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

10. SOM/PHE Webinars: Work, Worklessness and Wellbeing – Covid-19 and Beyond

The Society of Occupational Medicine (SOM) with Public Health England wish to support employers and employees to be COVID secure and maintain health and wellbeing during the pandemic and beyond.  We also want policy makers to think about key challenges employers and employees are facing during the pandemic and beyond.  We are hosting a series of webinars on key issues with follow up briefing sheets for employers, line managers and employees – that can support employee wellbeing, productivity and avoid legal challenge.

Who is it for?

  • employers and employees from businesses, large and small
  • professionals working in healthcare, public health, occupational health, and human resources
  • policy makers

Webinars are free - book on the links below:

4th Feb 2-4pm Managing job insecurity and creating better quality work


11th Feb 2-4pm Managing stress, burnout and fatigue in health and social care


24th Feb 2-4pm Promoting workplace health and wellbeing in COVID-19 and beyond


3rd March 2-4pm Developing a COVID secure health and wellbeing strategy



The NHS Health at Work Network brings together all OH teams providing health and wellbeing services to NHS OH staff.  It is dedicated to providing consistent, high quality health at work services to all NHS staff through collaborative working.

Members of OH teams in NHS Health at Work Network member organisations can receive the bulletin and access the restricted areas of the website as a membership benefit – if you are not sure of your login details email admin@nhshealthatwork.co.uk   

Please share this bulletin with colleagues and encourage them to register to receive it regularly.  Non-Network members can also register to receive the monthly bulletin here.

You can contact the Network through your regional representative or as shown below.  Please get in touch if you have any queries or comments, if there is anything you would like to see in future issues of the bulletin, or if you have news to share.

Dr Shriti Pattani, Chair                                            chair@nhshealthatwork.co.uk

Andrew Gilbey, Network Manager                       admin@nhshealthatwork.co.uk  


Postal address: NHS Health at Work, PO Box 857, York YO31 6FR