February 2020 NHS Network e-bulletin

Dear Colleagues

Welcome to the February edition of your bulletin. As always there is a wealth of content which we hope you will find informative and useful. We hope that the bulletin is just one of the many reasons why you will renew your membership to the Network this coming year. We regularly review the benefits associated with the membership so please do let us know if there are things you feel we should explore or are particularly helpful and may like to see more of. I would like to express my thanks to all who so quickly responded to the Ask-A-Question I recently put to the membership. I had a fantastic response, and for me, it was incredibly beneficial and reminded me what a collaborative and supportive community we are.

It feels like there is an increasing focus on staff health and wellbeing with the topic now appearing in various meetings, discussions and plans. It is certainly a challenging but also exciting time for our speciality. For this reason, we would love to hear from members in the East of England and South East Coast who may be interested in applying to join the Network Board. As we begin to work closer with national bodies and influence the agenda we must ensure we continue to hear from and represent the views of all areas across the country. 

I hope you’re able to soon take a break from thinking about flu and find some time to look after yourself. It has undoubtedly been another very busy and demanding point in our working year.

With best wishes

Giles Wright

Deputy Chair


In this edition:

1. Sign Up/Renew Your NHS Network Membership

2. NHS Network Benefit: Ask A Question

3. Coronavirus

4. 20% Discount for Network Members: Conference on the Wellbeing of Doctors

5. MoHaWK Update

6. Network Board Vacancies: East of England; South East Coast

7. £200 Network Member Discount for Practical OH Law Certificate 

8. Headache and Migraine Toolkit

9. The £43bn. Cost of Poor Mental Health at Work

10. Social Prescribing Case Study

11. Improving Health Outcomes Through Physical Activity

12. NHS Employers Update


The next edition will be circulated week commencing 2 March 2020.

1. It’s Time To Sign Up/Renew Your NHS Network Membership!

It’s almost time to sign up again to make sure that you don’t miss out on our exclusive range of Network benefits which include:

  • A free place at the NHS Network’s Annual Conference
  • Free access to MoHaWK – the clinical benchmarking tool for occupational health
  • Free listing on our ‘Find A Provider’ page – helping you to win new business
  • Inclusion on the ‘OH Clearance for National Performer’s List’
  • Discounted access to clinical skills training and conferences – worth hundreds of pounds!
  • Access to our Member’s only area of the website - providing advice and guidance 24/7
  • Free job advertising on our website for those ‘hard-to-fill’ OH vacancies
  • Keeping you updated – we work hard to make sure you find out first about the important and crucial developments in the OH world that may affect your Service

See our full range of exclusive benefits here

Please keep an eye on your inbox for the renewal letter!

And if you have any other ideas or suggestions for future membership benefits, don’t hesitate to get in touch!

2.    Exclusive NHS Network Benefit: Ask A Question

One of the benefits of belonging to the Network is the chance to Ask A Question of other Members for help, advice or guidance – after all, why re-invent the wheel?

January was a particularly busy with Members submitting 7 questions covering: 

  • OH opening hours and DNA rates
  • fast track policies
  • use of Hep A/B (twinrix) vaccination for Hep B
  • opt out for staff for flu vaccination
  • pertussis vaccination PGD
  • EPP clearance
  • Band 6 OH Adviser recruitment

Check out the Network website for the responses to these and other questions posed in 2019.

3.    Coronavirus

The recent escalation of the coronavirus, including the first reported cases in the UK, is a rapidly developing issue.  Colleagues will be working closely with their own Infection Control and Public Health teams.  The official government websites are the best sources of information advice.  This link provides the latest guidance for OH and infection control teams, albeit limited at this stage.  The more generic public advice is available here.

The primary care guidance for information (not specific to OH) outlining the epidemiological and clinical criteria is available here.

4.    20% Discount for NHS Network Newsletter Recipients: Conference on the Wellbeing of Doctors

The NHS Health at Work Network is pleased to support this conference focusing on Enhancing Resilience, Reducing Stress & Supporting the Wellbeing of Doctors being held on Friday 24 April at the De Vere Conference Centre in London.

Following the recent GMC commissioned report ‘Caring for Doctors, Caring for Patients’ the conference addresses how we can meet the recommendations of this report and deliver effective resilience and wellbeing programmes to support doctors and other clinical staff working in the NHS.  

For more information visit: www.healthcareconferencesuk.co.uk/conferences-masterclasses/supporting-wellbeing-of-doctors or email kerry@hc-uk.org.uk

Follow on Twitter @HCUK_Clare #ResilienceDrs

20% Discount is available with code hcuk20haw

5.    Mohawk Update Round 16 – Data entry will close in February

It’s good to see that many Services are already starting to get their Round 16 data in.

I have had a few queries in the last week or so regarding the data entry period. Please be advised that the data entry for Round 16 will close on Friday 14th February 2020. If you know that you need an extension to this, then please contact me by email on hilary.winch@nnuh.nhs.uk

Don’t forget that a four-part audiometry surveillance audit was launched for this round and that you can undertake this in sections, so why not consider entering part of this audit in this round?  A data collection tool has been developed to support this to make it easier to undertake.  Please get in touch if you need any further guidance.

6.    Network Board Vacancies: East of England Region and South East Coast Region

Following many years of excellent NHS Network Board support by both Sue Hillman (East of England Region) and Emma Palmer (South East Coast Region), we now have Board vacancies for both regions. 

Board members are expected to provide a communication link with members in their region so that they are able to represent their views at the Board meetings. The Board meets 3 times a year (one via teleconference, once in central London, and once at the time of our annual conference in September).

More information and the application form are available here. The deadline for applications for both regions is Friday 6th. March.  To find out more, or for an informal discussion, please contact andrew.gilbey25@gmail.com

7.    Network Member Discount – Save £200! - Certificate in Practical OH Law

The At Work Partnership is delighted to offer NHS Health at Work Network members a discount of £200 + VAT for places on our Practical OH Law Certificate. This practical three-day qualification is designed to provide occupational health professionals with an in-depth understanding of occupational health law at work.

Book and pay by 31 March 2020 to qualify for our early bird rates. 

More information is available from https://www.atworkpartnership.co.uk/conference/practical-oh-law-certificate-2020-2

8.    Headache and migraine toolkit 

Headache and migraine sufferers could soon benefit from more targeted care thanks to a new toolkit. Developed in collaboration with The Neurological Alliance the toolkit looks to support health systems to understand the priorities in headache and migraine care and the key actions to take. It also provides the opportunity to assess and benchmark current systems to find opportunities for improvement. This will work to improve the quality of life for patients through better symptom management while ensuring they only need to access health and care services when necessary.

9.    The £43bn. Cost of Poor Mental Health at Work

Poor mental health in the workplace is costing UK employers more, according to a new report by consultancy firm Deloitte and mental health charity Mind.

10. Social Prescribing Training Programme: Case Study

Jane Hartley, a health and wellbeing associate from North Cumbria Health and Care, shares her passion for the contribution voluntary and community sectors make to the health of communities in the north east. Jane also looks at the ‘first of its kind’ training programme for social prescribing link workers in the region that sees them finally being recognised as serious players in the health and care workforce. Watch her story.

11. ‘Improving Health and Outcomes Through Physical Activity: National Moving Healthcare Professionals Programme (MHPP)’.

Lack of physical activity is a top ten cause of the disease burden in England. Around 1 in 3 men and half of women are not achieving guidelines, with people with long term conditions twice as likely to be amongst the least active. 

The MHPP is a national programme led by PHE and Sport England to support the healthcare workforce to increase their knowledge and skills, and change their clinical practice to incorporate physical activity within routine care. Read more about it here

12. NHS Employers Update

Financial Wellbeing: Download our new financial wellbeing guide to support you in developing a robust and supportive financial wellbeing strategy for your staff. 

Our guide has a four-step approach to follow and can be used by all organisations regardless of which stage they might be at. 

It looks at how to embed a strategy and get senior-level support, what resources and help you can signpost your staff to and what positive interventions there are.

Case Study Blog: Tackling the menopause taboo in the workplace - Karen Wright, associate director of workforce for Velindre University NHS Trust, Wales shares her experience of working whilst experiencing the menopause and talks about the steps she took to challenge the taboo in her organisation.  See her blog here.

International Recruitment Toolkit - This toolkit is for colleagues involved in leading and delivering international recruitment in the NHS. It aims to encourage and enable good practices and processes for the recruitment of international staff across a wide range of professions. 

You can use this resource to plan your approach to overseas recruitment activity for the first time, or to review the quality and efficiency of your existing practices and processes.

The NHS Interim People Plan acknowledges the need to ethically increase the number of international recruits and empowers organisations to actively recruit overseas as part of a short-to-medium term robust and well-rounded workforce supply plan.

Sickness Absence Update - NHS Digital statistics for August 2019 show that NHS staff sickness absence was 4.14 per cent, compared to August 2018 when it was 4.05 per cent - an increase of 0.09 per cent.

The most common reasons identified for all staff sickness absence were anxiety, stress or depression. 

The lowest sickness absence rate by staff group in August 2019 was 1.19 per cent for hospitals and community health services doctors. This is the lowest it has been since September 2018 when it was 1.17 per cent.

The highest sickness absence rates by staff group is support to clinical staff at 5.67 per cent. There has been an increase each year since 2017 when it was 4.26 per cent.

The ambulance service had the highest sickness absence rate for August 2019 at 5.71 per cent. Clinical commissioning groups had the lowest rate with 2.80 per cent.

Health Education England (HEE) North West had the highest percentage rate of sickness absence at 4.85 per cent, followed by HEE North East with 4.70 per cent. 

HEE North West London had the lowest sickness absence with 3.41 per cent.

See more at the NHS Digital website here.


The NHS Health at Work Network brings together all OH teams providing health and wellbeing services to NHS OH staff.  It is dedicated to providing consistent, high quality health at work services to all NHS staff through collaborative working.

Members of OH teams in NHS Health at Work Network member organisations can receive the bulletin and access the restricted areas of the website as a membership benefit – if you are not sure of your login details email admin@nhshealthatwork.co.uk.  

Please share this bulletin with colleagues and encourage them to register to receive it regularly. 

Non-Network members can also register to receive the monthly bulletin.


You can contact the Network through your regional representative or as shown below.  Please get in touch if you have any queries or comments, if there is anything you would like to see in future issues of the bulletin, or if you have news to share.

Dr Shriti Pattani, Chair                                          via admin@nhshealthatwork.co.uk

Andrew Gilbey, Network Manager                        andrew.gilbey25@gmail.com

Wendy Coleman, Network Administrator             admin@nhshealthatwork.co.uk 


Postal address: PO Box 642, BS23 9NG