Project MH36

Evaluation of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough's pilot of a system wide enhanced occupational health and wellbeing offer to primary care

An evaluation of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough’s 12-month pilot of a system wide occupational health and wellbeing offer to primary care staff.

Introduction 

The health and wellbeing of staff working across the NHS is a key theme in the NHS People Plan (2020-21), ensuring staff have access to health and psychological support. As part of this process, NHS England and NHS Improvement have been piloting the establishment of resilience hubs and enhanced occupational health programmes to undertake proactive outreach and assessment, co-ordinate referrals to appropriate treatments and support a range of treatment needs. The aim was that this would bridge the gap between preventative support, early identification and intervention and specialist support. The Enhanced Occupational Health and Wellbeing pilots are being run in 14 systems (covering an estimated 800,000 Health and Care staff) and included wellbeing apps and staff helplines, focused support of at-risk groups (e.g., BAME staff), delivery of training and support to line managers, adaption of national offers to current context (e.g., civility and respect, violence reduction), developing wider digital wellbeing offer (e.g., financial, childcare), communications and evaluation frameworks.

There are significant inequalities in access to Occupational Health and Wellbeing provision for staff in primary care. Growth and retention of the primary care workforce, reduced attrition and building resilience is a key priority for system growth. Camrbidgeshire and Peterborough CCG (21 Primary Care Networks), with over 3,000 practice staff and over 500 community pharmacists, have piloted an Enhanced Occupational Health Provision for all GP practice staff to access.

The Eastern Academic Health Science Network and University of East Anglia were commissioned to evaluate the Enhanced Occupational Health and Wellbeing Pilot project.

Project aims

The aim of the Enhanced Occupational Health and Wellbeing project was to:

  1. Increase access to provision of quality OH, in turn supporting colleagues to remain in work and well or to return to work to do this well
  2. Increase access and uptake of interventions with a measurable improvement in health
  3. Improve staff perceptions of occupational health policy (person-centred vs focused on managing attendance)

The aim of the service evaluation was to:

Evaluate the impact of improvements (baseline existing provision, monitoring and outcomes evaluation) to capture learning, share what is working and contribute towards evidence-based practice.

Project activity 

The contracted occupational health provider started the service on 1st July 2021. The pilot project is running for 12 months. The provisions of the pilot include:

  • Performance and Attendance Management
  • Pre-Employment Assessment
  • Immunisations
  • HR Support Helpline (for managers)
  • 24/7 Sharps Line
  • Wellbeing App for Staff
  • Employee Assistance Programme

The evaluation has included two online surveys and interviews with GP practice staff, community pharmacy staff and referral or practice managers to establish existing access to occupational health provision, uptake and experiences of the pilot project provision.

Outputs

  • The evaluation has fed into the national NHS England and NHS Improvement evaluation for the Enhanced Health and Wellbeing (HWB) in Systems Programme (2020/2021).
  • The evaluation will be used to inform future decisions around sustainability of an enhanced occupational health provision for primary care in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough.

Who is involved

Principal investigator: Dr Sarah Robinson (Eastern Academic Health Science Network)

Prof Kristy Sanderson (University of East Anglia)

Dr Bryony Porter (University of East Anglia)

Contact us

Dr Sarah Robinson Eastern Academic Health Science Network

Email: sarah.robinson@eahsn.org