Harrogate and District NHS Foundation Trust cares for a population of approximately 200,000 in the Harrogate and Rural District and North East Leeds by
providing essential hospital and community
We decided to tackle stress because we knew it was a big problem for the NHS in general based on various surveys, including figures from HSE. So we took a proactive approach.
This included training for line managers and risk assessors; implementing a 'Managing Work Pressures Policy' in 2007 with Staff Side approval; conducting an annual Trust-wide generic risk assessment; carrying out individual risk assessments and involving the Trust's support functions.
Our policy on stress follows HSE's Management Standards and we communicated it widely across the Trust via the intranet. It provides advice on how to recognise the signs of stress; identify and understand the causes of stress; provide a risk rating; identify solutions and action plans and finally monitor and review those plans.
The training for managers and risk assessors raises awareness of work-related stress and equips both with the tools to identify causes of stress and manage them. Departmental risk assessments were carried out after this training and HR and Occupational Health monitored and reviewed the effectiveness of our stress policy.
"The course was very interesting and I gained a better understanding of how to manage work pressures." - Sister (Paediatrics)
Risk Assessment actions have included:
We can see notable improvements: in the 2008 audit of the 'Managing Work Pressures policy', four cases of work-related stress were reported. This figure represents 0.2% of the total employee population and is a potential indicator that we are proactively managing work pressures. The expected benefits include reducing working days lost, improving productivity levels and raising staff morale by reducing work pressures. All of which can impact on cost savings. It's also been cost effective as we have sourced all resources in-house.
It's recognised that this project will add value to the patient experience by maintaining high quality of care; giving nurses more time to care; achieving higher levels of job satisfaction and going beyond patients expectations.
Our model can be easily transferred to other Trusts as the training and policy are not organisation specific.