Trusts are expanding their service to the public to incorporate 'low-level', brief-focused counselling on a larger scale. In meeting the growing needs of the public, it is equally important that the NHS maintains a high standard of care for its own personnel. In a health service which depends on people for professional judgement and quality of care, it is fundamental.

Providing brief-focused counselling to NHS staff, in the form of internal or external employee assistance programmes (EAPs), can have a significant and direct impact on the standard and quality of the service NHS staff provide to the public.

EAPs prove to be an effective management tool not only in assuring a 'duty of care' to individual employees, but also in improving productivity. Interventions are aimed at both the individual employee via personal counselling and at the organisation via managerial support, training and statistical feedback on work-related issues. The support and training addresses problems affecting both employee and employer, such as resistance to change, interpersonal conflict, occupational stress, violence in the workplace and team effectiveness.

Philip Sanders Managing director PPC UK Oxford