• HEE-commissioned report recommends NHS staff receive post-trauma counselling and have access to psychological treatment services 
  • Also recommends future capital allocations should take into account whether estates plans enhance space for staff

NHS organisations must give employees access to post-incident support or post-trauma counselling, a report into the mental health of staff has found. 

The report – commissioned by Health Education England and led by Sir Keith Pearson, a former chair of Health Education England – also recommended NHS staff have rapid access to mental health support, through either their GP or occupational health clinician, and access to a self-referral psychological treatment service.

Published today, the report recommended future allocations of capital to NHS organisations should take into account whether estate plans will “enhance or create space for staff and those who are learning in the NHS”.

It added all clinical trainees working on call must be provided with rest spaces and “designed for purpose” on call rooms. These two recommendations were prompted by the “steady erosion of and the consistent need for spaces for NHS staff” and “a lack of access to simple nourishment or even the ability to take toilet breaks has left many staff feeling that their wellbeing is not valued.”

Other recommendations include; having a wellbeing guardian on the board of every NHS organisation (which could be an executive); developing a national “Samaritans style” service for NHS staff; and NHS organisations carrying out an independent examination into the suicide of any staff member or trainee.

In a response to the report, the Department of Health and Social Care said the recommendations would be considered as part of the upcoming workforce implementation plan.

As part of this, the DHSC said it would consider a “potential new package of support for staff” which “could” include; post-incident support for frontline staff; a dedicated mental health support service; fast-tracked mental health referrals for NHS employees; and “improved rest spaces” for staff and trainees.