Birmingham City University is proud to present

STEM to STEAM 2023 Healthcare Conference

Enhancing Mental Health and Workplace Culture

Wednesday 7 June 2023

1pm – 6pm

In their 2022 report Sir General Gordon Messenger and Dame Linda Pollard stated that “institutional inadequacy” has developed over time. However, this comment should not be a surprise  to either the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care or anyone senior in the NHS.

Prior to the 2022 report there have been a series of reports since Dame Carol Black published her seminal Working for a healthier tomorrow in 2008.

The panellists in this conference will debate the hard issues facing front line NHS employees. From bullying behaviours to the challenges faced by many dealing with inequality and how this negatively impacts the patient, NHS employees and the UK taxpayer. The purpose of the debate is to find sustainable solutions that benefits all NHS stakeholders.

Secretary of State for Health

Secretary of State for Health and Social Care

Reports 2008 to 2022
Dame Carol Black published her seminal Working for a healthier tomorrow review of workplace health. The report states

We must act now to build on the emerging consensus around a new approach to health and work in Britain. We will not be able to secure the future health of our nation without it.

Dr Steven Boorman’s NHS Health and Well-being Final Report was published. It says

NHS organisations generally were not giving priority to staff health and well-being. Indeed, many NHS organisations displayed behaviours that were incompatible with delivering high-quality health and well-being services and support for staff. In particular, staff health and well-being services were often reactive rather than proactive, focused on responding to sickness and ill-health rather than actively promoting good health and well-being and a positive culture of workplace safety. There was a widely-held view that staff health and well-being was not seen as a priority either at organisational or local management level.

The Francis Report identifies that an institutional culture ascribed more weight to positive information about the service than to information capable of implying cause for concern. It goes on to say that

 …there is a failure to tackle challenges to the building up of a positive culture, in nursing in particular but also within the medical profession.

With the publication of the Berwick Report, titled A promise to learn – a commitment to act, in his letter to Senior Government Officials and Senior Executives in the Health Service, Don Berwick writes

…acting on rare and outlying behaviors and on exceptional cases of poor performance – though necessary, will not create an overall far safer and better NHS; it cannot. A culture of learning can. And the likelihood of such a culture’s thriving in the NHS depends, more than on anything else, on how you, the senior leaders, behave, speak, and invest.

The BMA report Supporting health and wellbeing at work states

Keeping doctors healthy will have important benefits for the NHS by improving staff engagement, reducing costs associated with absence and turnover, and improving patient outcomes. An employer focus on the health and wellbeing of staff will have a long lasting and positive impact in terms of patient care and value for public investment.

The price of fear: Estimating the financial cost of bullying and harassment to the NHS in England, stated

…the cost of bullying and harassment to be around £2.281 billion per annum to the NHS in England. These costs included sickness absence, employee turnover, sickness presentism, litigation and industrial relations costs.

The Nursing and Midwifery Council Leavers’ survey 2020 reported that

21,800 nurses, midwives and nursing associates left the register between July 2019 – June 2020.  Some of the reasons leavers gave included: retirement (51.9%); staffing levels (10.9%); too much pressure, stress and poor mental health (22%); and negative workplace culture, bullying, poor management and difficulty raising concerns (18.1%).

The Health Services Executive publish their report on Work-related stress, anxiety or depression statistics in Great Britain. Statistics for work-related stress, anxiety or depression statistics show that by top-level industry, stress, depression or anxiety is most prevalent in Education and Human health and social work activities. Statistically higher rates of stress, depression or anxiety were also found in the smaller occupational groups of Health professionals and Teaching and other educational professionals.

The main work factors cited by respondents as causing work-related stress, depression or anxiety were workload pressures, including tight deadlines and too much responsibility and a lack of managerial support.

The Ockenden Report was publish their 2022 workforce report titled The state of medical education and practice in the UK. The Executive Summary states

The review has found the Trust leadership team up to Board level to be in a constant state of churn and change. Therefore it failed to foster a positive environment to support and encourage service improvement at all levels. In addition the Trust Board did not have oversight, or a full understanding of issues and concerns within the maternity service, resulting in a lack of strategic direction and effective change, nor the development of accountable implementation plans.

The GMC publish their 2022 workforce report titled The state of medical education and practice in the UK. Page 4 states

Our health services would be mistaken to look at inclusion from a purely ethical viewpoint. Of course, it is the right thing to do, but we must recognise that it is also – like stress management and wellbeing – a crucial factor in productivity
and workforce retention. By making it a priority, we can encourage much-needed doctors to remain in UK healthcare and make the most of their potential.