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Improving health and wellbeing in the Medicine Division

In the 2018 Staff Survey, 23% of 566 respondents agreed with the statement ‘BSUH takes positive action on their health and wellbeing.’ For the HIV/GUM teams, the result was only 15%. Following on from this, one of the key areas of focus for making improvements this year is to look at ways we can support staff wellbeing.

Our fantastic HIV/GUM team at SHAC and Lawson Unit have been leading the way for the medicine division in improving the health and wellbeing of staff in their department. Kiersten Simmons, one of the Speciality Registrars at the unit has been getting the whole team involved in wellbeing initiatives and has been looking at ways to better support staff and improve daily working life.

Kiersten said: “Often we are so caught up in looking after other people, that we aren’t able to think about ourselves too.”

With this in mind, Kiersten set to work on setting up initiatives and events in the department.

“Every day the team deal with traumatised and vulnerable patients in an empathetic, compassionate and skilful way. The increasing challenges in the NHS; in particular funding cuts to such a vital sexual health and HIV service, puts an ever growing pressure on staff.” Kiersten said.

Kiersten wanted to recognise the dedication of the team in supporting patients, often at the most difficult time of their lives, by providing healthy physical and mental outlets for them. There is also evidence that improving staff wellbeing leads to better team work, lower rates of absenteeism, lower staff turnover, reduction in burnout and ultimately, better patient outcomes, which is always our main focus. The initiatives, which are focused on the time spent at work rather than personal time, include the introduction of a well-being box in the staff room which everybody can contribute items such as head massages, art materials, stress balls and playing cards. They have also been arranging team games evenings and bike rides, providing fresh fruit, inhouse mediation sessions and pop-up yoga in the department, alongside improvements to the staff room and skill sharing sessions.

The team were commended by Brighton and Hove’s Mayor and local MEP Alex Phillips, who visited the Lawson Unit recently. The Mayor joined the team to talk about why health and wellbeing are so important in a department that cares for people during such challenging times in their lives. She was very complimentary about the work of the team and encouraged them to keep concentrating on their wellbeing so they can continue to provide such a good service to patients.

Don’t forget – from 3rd October, you can have your say by completing the annual NHS Staff Survey 2019. Staff will receive an email notifying them of the survey or those not regularly based at desks will receive paper versions.

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