14 April 2015

NUH leads the way with workplace health

NUH leads the way with workplace health

Staff working in hospitals across the country could lead healthier lives, following impressive results from a workplace wellness drive at Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust. 

The NUH staff health improvement programme has had national influence in the field of public health. And now an award-winning evaluation of the programme has been highlighted by the Royal Society for Public Health (RSPH) as their most downloaded article in 2013 (Five-year workplace wellness intervention in the NHS). 

The programme, which offers employees free access to health-checks as well as opportunities to get fit, was established in 2005 by Professor Mark Batt, Consultant in Sport and Exercise Medicine. 

Professor Batt said: "When we launched the programme back in 2005 we were blessed to have access to researchers from the University of Nottingham. Their team surveyed staff working across our hospitals and found that almost half of people were physically inactive and either overweight or obese. And more than half of those surveyed didn't get their five-a-day, despite claiming that they had a healthy diet. Access to this kind of data helped us tailor the wellbeing programme to our own workforce."

Steph Knowles, Health and Wellbeing Coordinator at NUH, said: "Our initial aim was to offer lunchtime fitness classes for staff at the QMC and City Hospital Campus but it has grown so much since then. 

"Our work-place health checks are a highly successful feature of the programme. More than 3171 employees have undertaken a voluntary medical assessment at work since 2011." 

Research carried out with staff following health-checks showed:

  • 41% changed their diet
  • 30% increased physical activity
  • 44% of smokers either cut down or quit
  • 48% of those exceeding alcohol limits reduced their consumption

A third of those taking part were advised to visit their GP following assessment and many employees were diagnosed with other health conditions. 

Professor Batt and Dr Holly Blake, Associate Professor of Behavioural Science at the University of Nottingham, were presented with an award for their article about the programme on Wednesday 14 January 2015. The article has been the most popular download on the RSPH Perspectives in Public Health website since it was published in 2013.

NHS Nottingham University Hospitals
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