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Managers must look after nurses' mental wellbeing, says NICE

  • 19 Comments

More attention should be paid to the mental wellbeing of nurses and other NHS staff, according to latest NICE guidelines.

NICE has called on NHS managers to ensure systems are in place for assessing and monitoring the mental wellbeing of employees so that risks caused by working conditions addressed.

“This could include using employee attitude surveys and information about absence rates, staff turnover and investment in training and development, and providing feedback and open communication,” the institute said in the guidelines Promoting Mental Wellbeing at Work, published today.

It also called on NHS organisations to provide staff with the opportunity to work flexibly if “reasonably practical”.

Additionally NICE recommended strengthening the role of line managers in promoting the mental wellbeing of employees through supportive leadership style and management practices.

The guidance aims to help reduce the estimated 13.7 million working days lost each year due to work-related mental health conditions including stress, depression and anxiety which are currently estimated to cost UK employers around £28.3bn per year at current pay levels.

NICE director of public health excellence professor Mike Kelly said: “By following these recommendations an average organisation of 1,000 employees can expect to save an estimated £250,000 a year, due to reduced absenteeism and increased performance.

“The guidance therefore represents a win-win for employers and their employees and should be seen as important advice to help organisations irrespective of their size or sector,” he said.

  • 19 Comments

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Readers' comments (19)

  • hospitals are not looking after nurses health they still ignore the working time regulatin. i am currently working 2pm to 10pm followed by 7am to 2pm , this can be like this for 10 days without a day off

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  • I totally agree with the above comment.I work 1pm to 9pm , then I would do 7am to 13.30 the next day or a full night the next day after a late shift. Some of my colleagues do 12 hour shifts for 3 days consecutively. Everyone complains how stressful and tired they are. Nothing is done when one complains. My manager will never ask "How are you ? " As long as the jobs are done and the shift is covered.

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  • Mertha Nyamande RMN

    Systems are already in place, the question is, are they being used? Properly?
    Clinical supervision is often under-utilised. You find that most staff just undertake supervision as supervisors without any training or knowhow of what is expected of them. Leaving a tirade of professionals who do not value clinical supervision because their foundation or early experiences that have been weak at best.

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  • I've been in the NHS for 15 years and I've known it to have its stressors and its positive sides.
    I told my manager that I was feeling stressed and overwhelmed due to my job. A huge mistake as I soon found out.
    She instantly started to discuss 'capability proceedings' despite the fact she acknowledged I had an 8 day case load when working 5 days a week.
    Would I put my head above the parapet once again to acknowledge my own stress? Unlikely..

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  • I've experienced poor management of staff from day one. We regularly work 14hr shifts, go on nights then are expected to go back on days after one day to get back to normal. There are no breaks either. And if you can't eat what's going in the bin at meal times (because this is theft and a sackable offence), you may not be able to get that 5mins to eat your sandwich, as patients have a very good way of kicking off as soon as you try to sit down for 2mins.

    Management never ask how we are, clinical supervision isn't managed at all. And so staff are left to burn out on their own. Under-staffing plays a key part to this. And not because the trust cannot afford to hire the correct amount of staff. They refuse to, because they would rather hire another director, or give one of them a pay rise to buy a new mercedes. And then comes the end of the year and they have all this money left, so the managers spent it on rubbish, when they could of hired that extra member of staff, and so enabled patient leave.
    Front line staff are not looked after at all. I'm certainly considering looking at private hospitals when I graduate. As I fear things are only getting worse for registered nurses.

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  • The acute NHS working environment can have a hugely negative effect on mental health - it is constantly demanding emotionally, mentally and physically to way beyond the point of being overwhelming. Nurses cannot just walk away at "finishing time" as it is often personally morally and ethically impossible to walk away from an acutely ill or distressed patient with whom you have established a relationship. The under resourced high demand environment means we are often unable to care for people to the standards we personally hold as adequate or good. It thus soon becomes a "soul destroying" environment, leaching away our personal emotional and mental energies. We become tired, irritable and burnt out..... Managers are under a similar pressure, only removed from the direct personal pressures of contact with patients, and are helpless to help us. This is a service that cannot survive, it is not sustainable. It amazes me that the "good and great" leaders on high do not recognise this, but continue to dish out edicts such as those informing us we need to "care with compassion". Hmmm, they may have had a compassion or consciousness bypass themselves I think...

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  • oh, and now we even have NICE producing a report telling employers to look after our mental wellbeing. Does this mean we will have more resources, and even time for regular, funded, expert clinical supervision?......I think not....

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  • Some of my managers do not even give the time to say "hello", even though my service is under threat of re-deployment. What have we come to when the main reason managers support their staff is that of saving money on sickness, rather than something as simple as respect of a fellow human being. As a nurse I am far more likely to derive satisfaction from the gratitude of patients rather than praise from superiors!

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  • One on my managers sent a memo round verbally that he would not say good morning to us until we said it to him first. I also had a polite word with him about his inability to say thank you to staff who had down over and able the call of duty, he called me very rude.

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  • i find the response rate to this article very interesting.
    it is so obvious that the majority of staff are in the same postition as mentioned in the above responses.
    i like all the above are of the same feeling and in the same boat, as the saying goes

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