Improving how we look after our staff


This week, we’ve announced a raft of wellbeing measures to better look after our staff.

These include developing our mental and physical health support services, refurbishing staff rooms, and improving our food and drink.

Emotional and mental health support

We want to ensure we have high-quality psychological services in place to support our staff.  We know that many of our staff will be struggling with the difficult emotional impact of providing care, particularly during Covid-19. 

Our psychologists (who are available from 7am to 11pm, 7 days a week) dealt with more than 300 calls last year. As well as providing support on a wide range of issues, they can also facilitate referrals to other services. Teams are also offered ‘Let it Out’ sessions where they can discuss their emotions in a supportive group environment. Our Chaplains are also on hand to provide a listening ear to staff having a difficult time.

However, more support is needed for staff affected by bereavement or experiencing symptoms of PTSD.

Heather Wright, palliative care team leader, is building on her experience supporting patients and their loved ones by offering a six-week virtual course for staff affected by bereavement. She will also be setting up a ‘mourning coffee group’ – a supportive space for people who are grieving.

We’ve also launched a pilot of our new mental health first aid training. This will better-equip staff to notice when a colleague is struggling with difficult emotions, and know how to signpost them to support.

Improving our food and drink

We are making some initial improvements to our food and drink, increasing the variety on offer and making it easier to purchase for shift workers, so there is a greater focus on eating well at work.

In March, we are opening our restaurant at King George Hospital and Subway at Queen’s Hospital 24/7, to see what the demand is like and whether this offer works for our staff. We’re also extending the hours when lunch is served so that staff can have more flexibility around when they take their break.

From 22 February to 31 March, our staff discount on food will increase from 15% to 25%. Staff can also receive a 25% discount on hot drinks purchased from one of the Costa outlets in our hospitals. We’ll also ensure that staff areas, as well as wellbeing hubs, are stocked with tea, coffee, milk and sugar for our colleagues to make a well-deserved cuppa.

We’re also introducing pop up food stalls, and a ‘click and collect’ option for our Costa shops - perfect for staff to grab something quickly while on the go.

More comfortable staff rooms

It’s important our staff have relaxing rest spaces so they can recharge during a difficult shift. So, we’ve started redecorating our staff rooms and upgrading the equipment in them. Our colleagues will have a big role to play in how their finished staff rooms will look, with teams being provided with a catalogue of furniture to choose from.

Making it easier to access wellbeing services

We want to make it easy for staff to access our wellbeing services from the comfort and privacy of their own home. We are developing a wellbeing area on our website which will mean staff can find out about and access wellbeing services at a time that suits them.

Supporting our staff to keep looking after themselves

The NHS offers staff free access to a range of wellbeing support, helping to manage their own health and wellbeing while looking after others. Our staff can access wellbeing apps like Headspace and Sleepio for free which offer help with sleep, mindfulness and meditation. We also we send regular information to staff on topics such as family support, financial wellbeing and physical health.

We’re always listening to staff on the support they need. Staff can contribute ideas in lots of ways, including wellbeing forums, our staff networks, and regular events where all staff are welcome to raise topics and ask our Executive team their questions.

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