NHS staff to benefit from mental health initiatives

20 Feb 2019

Health Secretary promises new wellbeing initiatives for NHS staff – but government must address causes of mental health issues.

Illustration of two healthcare professionals addressing mental health

 Health Secretary Matt Hancock has pledged to overhaul mental health and wellbeing support for NHS staff.

The Health Secretary has promised to provide:

  • post-incident support for frontline staff
  • 24/7 confidential mental health services
  • priority access to mental health referrals
  • improved rest spaces for on-call staff 
  • an ‘NHS Workforce Wellbeing Guardian’ to champion mental wellbeing in every NHS organisation. 

The five initiatives are recommendations from a new Health Education England report into the mental health of NHS staff and trainees.

Responding to the pledges, Dame Donna Kinnair, Acting RCN Chief Executive, said: “Nursing staff are working in ever more pressurised environments and we know that their physical and mental health can sometimes suffer as a result, leaving them with little in the tank to care for themselves.

“The government is right to recognise this as an issue and to commit to providing support for those in difficulty.

“When it comes down to the wellbeing of both patients and staff alike there is no substitute for having the right number of nurses in the right place at the right time – that's why we're calling on the government to increase the supply of nurses by putting at least £1 billion into nursing higher education.

“Safe staffing is about effectively meeting the clinical needs of patients, but for staff, it also means being able to take proper rests, eat and stay hydrated.”

Page last updated - 27/07/2019