Improving staff health, safety and wellbeing essential to improving patient care

Following on from the Francis Report into Mid Staffs NHS Foundation Trust, the Kings Fund has produced a report demonstrating that improving staff health, safety and wellbeing is essential if the government wants to improve patient care.

The study found that staff in many settings experienced high job demand and low control over their work, leading to emotional exhaustion, stress and for some burnout.

Some also spoke of bullying and an unsupportive work environment resulting in poor wellbeing at work.

During the study, some patients commented on the influence of the workplace on staff behaviours towards patients: busy or challenging service areas, a poor built environment and poorly managed wards.

The report concluded that, if staff wellbeing at work is good, it is likely that staff will perform better in their jobs, rather than the other way around.

The report also highlights the importance of monitoring staff absence, and viewing sickness absence as an organisational rather than individual issue.

Thus rather than tackling high sickness levels in a reactive and punitive way, staff wellbeing is proactively managed and supported to ensure care quality.

King’s Fund report: Does NHS staff wellbeing affect patient experience of care? [PDF]