Calls to incorporate managers’ support for employees’ health and wellbeing in bonuses and promotions have received a lukewarm reception from NHS Employers.

The recommendation was made in the Boorman review, which revealed senior managers were failing to recognise the link between healthy staff and better patient outcomes.

The review said appraisals, incentives such as bonus payments and promotions to senior appointments should “take full account of [a manager’s] support for staff health and
wellbeing”.

But NHS Employers director Sian Thomas said: “There is broad evidence across the field of reward that individual bonus payments for senior staff, or more widely for other staff, are not considered the best tool and care should be taken in incentivising people on this basis.

“There is very little evidence at the moment in the NHS that doing this would improve results,” she added.

Where incentives are used they should be linked to long term organisational performance and linked to creating value for patient care, Ms Thomas said.

The Boorman report on NHS health and wellbeing, published last week, found fewer than half of NHS workers surveyed agreed with the statement “senior managers in my organisation take a positive interest in the health and wellbeing of the employees in my workplace”.

Only 40 per cent believed that their employers listened to their concerns about their working environment.

Staff health and wellbeing was “not seen to command any priority at board or senior manager level, where there were few champions for the subject,” the report stated.

There was a perception that occupational health services prioritised support for managers over that for staff.

There were also anecdotal reports of managers seeking confidential information from occupational health staff, a practice condemned as “unacceptable”.