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Emotional wellbeing toolkit for NHS staff recommends 20 minute walks

NHS Employers has launched an emotional wellbeing toolkit for doctors, nurses and other NHS staff experiencing work-related stress, which includes recommendations to take walks during the working day.

An online interactive tool will take medical staff ‘through the journey of identifying how they are feeling’ as well as possible causes and the effect on themselves, colleagues and patients, and provide helpful tips, NHS Employers said.

It comes as Pulse’s latest GP burnout survey found that half of all GPs are at high risk of burnout, while 13% have felt suicidal.

NHS Employers has worked with psychologists to develop a set of support resources in the wake of the Mid-Staffordshire hospital scandal and Sir Robert Francis’s conclusion that staff stress negatively affected patient care.

The employers’ organisation has since identified that NHS staff resonated with three different measures of emotional wellbeing; on a go slow, having a good day, and feeling on the edge.

Clicking through the tool, a worker who for feels they are ‘on a go slow’ is told ‘you feel like the job you signed up to do is no longer the one you asked to do’ and ‘don’t see the point in trying anymore’. The tool adds that colleagues may see the individual as unhelpful or lazy and patients as cold and uncaring.

However, it goes on to recommend solutions, including rationalising why your work is useful and ‘taking accountability’ for it, as well as taking a 20-minute walk every day.

Meanwhile, those feeling ‘on the edge’ because processes and systems in place create barriers are told to ‘do something that you find enjoyable, relaxing and which takes your mind off work’.

The toolkit also offers an ‘action planning sheet’ for NHS workers who have had a think about what is making them feel ‘overwhelmed’.

Pulse launched its Battling Burnout campaign in 2013, and succeeded in drawing a commitment from NHS England that it would set up an occupational health service for GPs.

However, it has failed to carry out this commitment, and Pulse has since learned that other areas are cutting their services.

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