NHS Staff – Who is Caring for You? The “Other” Challenge Facing NHS Leaders

The New Year news has been dominated by stories of the NHS under severe pressure. But behind the headlines, what is the impact of all this on the health of those who work there? Long-term stress in the NHS is up by nearly 20% – so who will care for the carers? What can NHS leaders do to ensure that front-line staff continue to perform at their peak?

In 2014 we were lucky enough to be asked to work with the NW Ambulance service.  The programme, Perform @ Your Peak, aimed to provide people with the insight and ingredients they could use to create a personalised performance recipe.   We looked at both subjective and objective outcomes, the positive results were clear and have led to work with a whole range of NHS organisations ever since.

The programme followed our MAIN frame mantra, and used digital technology to Measure physiological response, captured behaviours and feelings to Assess, provided talks to Inspire and blogs to Nurture.  Undoubtedly, the personalised and objective output from the technology triggered many people into taking action. However, when we looked at the outcomes of the people who simply wore the tech, received their results but didn’t attend any of the education sessions that followed, little improvement was seen.

So why were the education sessions, that talked about simple things such as exercise, sleep, nutrition, mindset, such a critical catalyst to a successful programme? Firstly, we educated only – we never told people what to do. We simply provided information and encouraged people to make choices.  Secondly, we created space for people to talk: people realised they had similar challenges and support networks evolved.  Finally, we challenged the carers of today to continue to be the providers of fantastic care, as well as becoming the future champions of a salutogenic approach to physical and mental health.

Over the next couple of months, we will explore all the challenges around caring for carers.

Simon Shepard is CEO of Optima-life, optimising human performance and resilience – he will be talking at Digital Wellbeing and can be contacted on simonshepard@optima-life.com

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