Our NHS People

Why we need to take action now

The health and well-being of all our NHS people is one of the most important things we could talk about. We know that without our staff, we cannot deliver high quality patient care, patient safety and patient satisfaction.

Yvonne Coghill, CBE

it’s great to be here. And I’m really delighted that you’ve invited me to talk about health and well-being, because I think it is probably the most important thing that we could possibly talk about. I know that our NHS is incredibly diverse. So it’s a wonderful organisation and has been since its inception. We have had people from all over the world come to work in our NHS – and I think what’s interesting now, I try not to use the word unprecedented because everybody’s using it. But this is an unprecedented time – the fact that we are going through something that we’ve never been through before, I think it’s really fantastic that we’re focussing on people’s health and wellbeing: it’s essential. And it’s it’s something that we perhaps should have done many, many years ago. We should have spent the time that we’re spending now, the energy that we’re spending now on focussing on all of our staff wellbeing. Because what we know is that without our staff, we cannot deliver high quality patient care, patient safety and patient satisfaction. So treating are our most precious commodity, our staff, well, has got to pay us dividends. It does lots and lots of different things, not least to keep the staff that we have in the organisation. It means that people will see that we treat our staff well, so they will want to join our organisation, and for those people that have been in and gone back out, it means that they might want to come back in. So staff health and wellbeing, is absolutely key, I think, at this time now, where we have seen so many of our colleagues get sick and die – and I don’t really even know what to say about that. It just leaves me feeling really, really sad and very, very heartbroken that we have lost so many of all of our colleagues. But what’s even more terrifying and scary for lots of staff out there is the fact that we’re losing so many of our black and minority ethnic colleagues. And I think that that is something that a lot of people are thinking about and wondering about and wanting to know why why that is. And there’s lots and lots of reasons for that.

[00:02:50] But what this this all is is about it’s about well-being. And I think that one of the things that that for me, in my experience, I find it really encouraging and enabling is to have leadership that believes in them, that values them, that appreciates them. That enables them to be the best that they could possibly be. And I think it’s something that we’re obviously trying to do now by making sure that staff have access to all the health and care that we could possibly give them at this really, really difficult time. And I think that going forward, that has got to be something that we keep going because it’s essential that all of our staff have somewhere to go when they’re not feeling 100 percent, somebody to talk to. And actually more than that, somebody who can understand who they are and where they come from.

[00:03:47] So the offers that we are we’re making to people need to be. I think, tailored to the individual’s needs. I don’t think it’s one size fits all, though, is really tricky to do that with an organisation that’s got 1.4 Million people. But I think what we have to do is to consider the needs of all of our members of staff because they’re all individuals, they are all different and they’ll all be wanting different things. They’re making sure that we think about that and the offers that we offer and deliver are going to be culturally sensitive, are going to be something that people people need, that people want, that people can turn to and go back to. And I think that is a really big ask. It’s very, very tricky. Not an easy thing to do, though. I’m really impressed with the speed at which we’ve got health and wellbeing at. And I’m also impressed by the numbers of people that are accessing it. But I also know, because I have spoken to lots of people from black and ethnic minority backgrounds, that they’re not necessarily always they don’t always think that these services are are for them. I think what we have to do is make sure that they do understand that this is for you, too. We want to hear from you. What is it that you actually need from us so that we can design, develop and initiate services that for us are absolutely fit for purpose. Because as I said, without or without our staff, we’re we’re actually going to get nowhere very, very fast. And I think we will know, the whole country knows now, how really important, [inaudible] is – I think it always kind of did, but now, this time, I mean, I stand outside my house like everybody else on a Thursday evening and you can hear clapping, fireworks going off, and, you know, people really genuinely appreciating the NHS, which I think is the best healthcare service in the world. But actually, it’s it’s really important that we understand the worth and value of every single member of staff in the NHS and ensure that we do our best to make sure that they’re fit and healthy so that we can continue to deliver services.

Key points

It’s really important that we understand the worth and value of every single member of our NHS and ensure that we do our best to make sure that they’re fit and healthy. When we see colleagues get sick, or die, especially when many of these are BAME colleagues, this needs to be thought about too.

Taking action as early as possible to support BAME colleagues during and after Covid-19 means ensuring our offers of support are tailored to individuals needs, and are not one-size-fits-all.

This includes making sure everyone has access to all the health and care possible at this difficult time. It’s essential that all of our staff have somewhere to go when they’re not feeling 100%, somebody to talk to, and somebody who can understand who they are and where they come from.

Key themes

These points and more were then explored in a discussion with Yvonne and other specialists in the next step.

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