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Enhanced occupational health and wellbeing

In September 2020, NHS England released a statement of intention to create a “wellness culture” that empowers NHS staff to maintain and improve their psychological and physical health and wellbeing. Integrated care systems (ICS) were asked to develop and pilot system-wide enhanced occupational health and wellbeing (EOH&W) offers which could be adopted and spread across England. These enhanced systems were to address two of the commitments in the NHS People Plan: supporting people through sickness and providing psychological support and treatment. The EOH&W pilots are intended to test a more comprehensive wellness offer to staff. Mental health resilience hubs have been developed alongside EOH&W to address the need for psychological support and treatment. Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire, and Berkshire West Integrated Care System (BOB ICS) was awarded funding and engaged the Oxford AHSN to undertake the evaluation.

The report of our phase 1 findings was published in May 2021. This covered initial mapping of services and semi-structured interviews with senior members of human resources and health and wellbeing services. The report highlights several areas for development that could be introduced to support change and measurement in health and wellbeing services:

  • Develop a common language to describe health and wellbeing services
  • Establish a minimum dataset for occupational health and wellbeing across the ICS, collected by all trusts, in the same way, to support benchmarking and the assessment of impact
  • Find out who is, or is not, accessing services
  • Ensure equal access to online and other services for all staff
  • Reduce the number of resources, staff find the offer ‘overwhelming’, by finding out what is most helpful for staff
  • Find out from staff if they prefer to self-refer or be referred