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Hospital senior leaders say staff wellbeing is one of their most pressing priorities

With concerns growing about burn out among health workers brought about by Covid-19; Sodexo Healthcare is championing the use of innovation and technology to help support colleague wellbeing in hospitals. The ongoing pandemic has brought about a phenomenal workload for people in healthcare and this has undoubtedly made the working life of those at the sharp end more stressful.

A survey by Sodexo shows that 86 per cent of those working at C-suite level in provider environments – such as Chief Executive Officers, Chief Financial Officers and Chief Operating Officers – are concerned about this issue; putting it in joint first place with concerns about their trust’s financial position.

This places it as of more of a concern than managing covid patients, which was listed by 81 per cent of C-suite respondents.

In fact, across all hospital leaders, from heads of department to managers in procurement and commissioners, the issue of staff wellbeing is also seen as a major priority with 76 per cent listing it as such, according to a survey of more than 100 senior managers.

And it has expanded its Circles concierge service following a successful pilot at Buckinghamshire Healthcare Trust.

Simon Lilley, Sodexo’s Director of Strategy & Marketing for Healthcare, said: “Now more than ever our clients and industry leaders are keen for us to play our part in the wellbeing of frontline and support teams.

“The feedback from our Circles concierge roll outs have been so positive and there is much more to come as we respond to improve outcomes through a combination of tech, rewards and personal engagement”

Called BHT Assist, the scheme at Stoke Mandeville Hospital started in March 2020 – at the start of the pandemic – to help the Trust’s hardworking 6,000 strong team and focuses on reducing stress and stress-related absence by giving valuable time back.

Any member of the hospital’s staff can simply go online at any time and request help with a whole range of life’s time-absorbing tasks.

BHT Assist has been used more than 3,700 times by staff since the launch at Buckinghamshire NHS Healthcare Trust, with popular requests covering grocery shopping, home repairs and car maintenance, finding fitness classes and gifting.

“With many NHS staff working longer days there’s little time to organise home and family affairs so this service helps relieve the mental load,” said Michael Fildes, Managing Director for Circles in the UK & Ireland. “It replaces the thought of ‘I must remember to do that’ with ‘That’s one less thing to worry about’. NHS leaders need innovative solutions to help staff wellbeing now more than ever”

The feedback for BHT Assist has been overwhelmingly positive, and figures from an NHS staff survey in March 2021 suggest it is having a tangible impact.

When asked if they felt Buckinghamshire Health Trust has taken positive action on health and wellbeing, 41.9 per cent of employees said yes, up 9.1pts on last year’s results and over 10 points higher than the national average.

Natalie Brayford, a Counsellor and Trainer who works for Sodexo Healthcare, said: “Technology can really help overcome that barrier to people accessing help and becoming more confident in being open about what they are experiencing.

“We spend so much time at work, I think the more NHS Trusts can consider how technology can support their teams, the better. Think about it like this. We have the right culture and controls in place to ensure physical health and safety, we must do that for our mental health as well. “

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