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Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust: we're a healthy staff champion

  • 1 Comment

Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust put in place a holistic health and well-being programme of exercise classes for their employees

The organisation

The Nottingham University Hospitals (NUH) trust is one of the biggest and busiest acute trusts in England, employing 13,000 staff. They provide services to over 2.5 million residents of Nottingham and its surrounding communities. They also provide specialist services to a further 3-4 million people from neighbouring counties each year. NUH is a teaching trust with a strong relationship with the University of Nottingham and other universities across the East Midlands, including Loughborough University. They play a vital role in the education and training of doctors, nurses and other healthcare professionals with three sites: Queens Medical Centre, City Hospital and Ropewalk House all within the Nottingham city boundaries.


Programme dates

June 2005 to date

What we did and why

The health and wellbeing programme at Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust started back in 2005 as a physical activity project called Q Active. Set up in response to the Choosing Health white paper the aim was to increase the number of staff being physically active through the provision of on site classes and a staff gym.

Since then the project has grown and in June 2010 became the NUH Health and Wellbeing programme in response to the recommendations from the Boorman Report. A Health and Wellbeing Coordinator was appointed and the programme was expanded to become an all encompassing holistic health promotion. In addition to the ongoing timetable of classes and the staff gym the following activities have been developed.

How we did it

  • Annual Health & Wellbeing week – this was introduced in June 2010 as part of the launch of the NUH Health and Wellbeing Strategy as a series of health information road shows and staff MOTs. The 3rd week will be held in June 2012 and has grown each year with new activities including free fitness classes. This year will see increased health checks, free massage tasters, fitness testing and healthy eating. Our classes will be free throughout the whole of June.
  • Mental Wellbeing Week – in response to a health needs assessment where stress was identified as the main health priority for staff, we launched a mental wellbeing week with relaxation classes, lunch time walks and workshops on coping with stress. The stress workshops have since been running monthly and we intend to make this an annual event.
  • Learn2Run courses – in September 2010, we launched our first beginners 6 week running courses using a mixture of walking and jogging. Seven members of staff have been trained as jog leaders through Run England and coordinate the courses. Alongside the structured programmes the jog leaders have lead individual sessions with course participants to continue their running and supported staff at various running events
  • Health checks– launched in June 2010, our Occupational Health nurses provide free health MOTs for staff at specially set up drop in sessions 4 times a year. The range of checks has increased over the 2 years and now includes weight, BMI, blood pressure, blood glucose and cholesterol. An evaluation survey a month after the checks shows that staff who attended made positive changes to their lifestyle as a result.
  • Staff physiotherapy service – introduced in January 2011 to provide a dedicated physiotherapist to work with staff who are injured at work or who develop a condition that either prevents them being at work or could result in being off work. The service treated 60 staff within the first month of taking referrals. Funding has been secured for a further 12 months and will increase the team to 3 physiotherapists.
  • Pedometer challenge – in July 2010 we established our first pedometer challenge which now runs 3 times per year due to its overwhelming success. Over a 6 week period teams of up to four staff walk as many steps as they can –staff are lent a pedometer and prizes are awarded.
  • Online pledge campaign – each January an online campaign is promoted to staff to encourage them to make one small change to their health. A prize draw is included to incentivise staff to take part
  • Netball team– following on from some very successful taster sessions we have established 2 netball teams who meet weekly and have just won their 3rd trophy.
  • Cyclingproject– in partnership with Sustrans we have a dedicated cycling project officer to promote cycling amongst staff through events, Dr Bike sessions and maintenance classes and cycle training. The Cycle2Work scheme was relaunched in August 2011. The number of staff cycling at the Trust has increased by around 5%.

A small charge is made for attendance at the fitness classes, the gym and the learn2run courses. We also provide wellbeing therapies on site including massage and beauty therapies for which there is a charge.

Prices are set at affordable and competitive prices to encourage participation and are designed to cover the cost of the instructor/therapist not to make any profit. At various points throughout the year special offers are provided such as free classes to tie in with other health promotion events. All other activities are provided free for staff, funding for which is generously provided through our staff lottery.


Since April 2011 there have been

  • 3000 health class and gym sessions attendances
  • 900 wellbeing therapy attendances
  • 300 staff have taken part in one of the pedometer challenges
  • 162 members of staff purchased a bike through the relaunched Cycle2Work scheme
  • 223 staff have had health MOTs at our quarterly health checks
  • 700 members of staff took part in Health and Wellbeing week
  • 300 staff took part in the first ever Mental Wellbeing week
  • 200 staff have attended a Coping with Stress workshop
  • 1 Comment

Readers' comments (1)

  • We love the proactive response that has been taken here and would encourage other companies to use this process of engagement as a good practice model.
    We have been providing onsite massage to companies around the country and they too have noticed positive differences in their staff. Onsite massage has been shown to help improve muscle tone, flexibility of muscles and reduce the likelihood of actually injuring the body.
    Try it out an at One's onsite massage and see what happens with your workforce.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

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