Welcome to our May 2020 Network e-bulletin

Dear Colleagues

I hope this month’s newsletter finds you and your teams safe and well.  It’s been fantastic to see the Network coming together when we need it most to share local practice and approaches to tackling Covid-19.  We have added further useful and selective content to our COVID 19 web pages contributed by our Network members.  Please do continue to send us anything you feel would be helpful to share more widely.

I was delighted to see our work with NHS England and NHS Improvement come to fruition with the publication of a Dynamic Purchasing Framework the other week.  This framework consisting of 23 OH providers who are available to provide additional support to the NHS at the request of the local OH management teams.  This has supplemented an already extensive list that the Network holds of volunteer individuals and companies offering to support the OH community.

We are continuing to work closely with NHSE and NHSI on other ways to support the wider NHS workforce over the next 12 months and will make further announcements as our plans progress.

Thank you to many of you who have already renewed your membership for the coming year.  For those of you yet to do so, you should have received a reminder last week.  Please do complete the renewal form, and return to our admin e-mail address – it only takes 5 minutes to complete the form, and guarantees you a whole host of benefits again for the coming year.  We know you have all been incredibly busy, so have extended the early bird renewal deadline until 29 May, which gives you a saving of over £200 on your membership.

My personal experience of working at the 'sharp end' of OH in an acute NHS hospital is that despite all the challenges it has been a real opportunity to demonstrate the value an Occupational Health Service can add to the organisation,  their staff and ultimately patient care. 

Thank you as ever for your continued support.

With best wishes

Shriti Pattani


/Board members/Shriti_Pattani


In this edition:

1. Renew Your Network Membership

2. Additional Support for NHS Staff

3. Covid-19 Support to NHS OH Teams

4. MoHaWK Update

5. Migraine at Work - Guidance for Managers

6. Public Health England – Every Mind Matters

7. HSE Update – Respirator Fitting and Protecting Lone Workers

8. Latest Research – Newcastle NHS, ONS and the Mental Health Foundation

 The next edition will be circulated week commencing 1 June 2020.

1.             Renew Your NHS Network Membership Now – Early Bird Extension to 29 May!

It’s great to see so many of our Members have already signed up for the coming year.  If you haven’t managed to do so just yet, we have extended the early-bird discount to 29 May 2020 which allows a saving of over £200 on the normal rate.

Signing up guarantees 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’
  • Ask-A-Question – the opportunity to pick the brains of over 2,000 OH professionals and seek advice around any new challenges you face, or general questions you have
  • 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, including a brand new Covid-19 section
  • 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, such as the recent coronavirus outbreak.

See our full range of exclusive benefits here

If you haven’t already seen it, please check your inbox, or spam folders, for the renewal e-mail and letter we sent out in April.  If you need it again, along with sign-up forms, just contact admin@nhshealthatwork.co.uk

2.    Additional Health and Wellbeing Support for NHS Staff

Colleagues at NHS Employers, NHS England and NHS Improvement, supported by our Network, have been working hard to identify and make available extra support for NHS staff. 

NHS staff have been given free access to a number of wellbeing apps from now until the end of December 2020 to support their mental health and wellbeing.

NHS England and NHS Improvement have worked with the following app providers to waive costs for the NHS workforce who are dealing with the unprecedented challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. 


Unmind is a mental health platform that empowers staff to proactively improve their mental wellbeing. Using scientifically-backed assessments, tools and training you can measure and manage your personal mental health needs, including digital programmes designed to help with stress, sleep, coping, connection, fulfilment and nutrition.

The team at Unmind are offering free access to NHS staff until the end of December 2020, which is active now. 


Headspace is a science-backed app in mindfulness and meditation, providing unique tools and resources to help reduce stress, build resilience, and aid better sleep. 

Free access to all NHS staff with an NHS email address is available until 31 December 2020 and is active now.

Sleepio and Daylight (developed by Big Health)

Sleepio is a clinically-evidenced sleep improvement programme that is fully automated and highly personalised, using cognitive behavioural techniques to help improve poor sleep. 

Free access to Sleepio for all NHS staff is active now until 31 December.

Daylight is a smartphone-based app that provides help to people experiencing symptoms of worry and anxiety, using evidence-based cognitive behavioural techniques, voice and animation.

Free access to Daylight is active now until 31 December.

Covid-19 Resilience Hub

Helping front line staff in the NHS and care services manage your own mental health and wellbeing, whilst looking after others during the Covid-19 crisis.

We have drawn together the best advice, tips, from our large panel of international experts to guide you and your team.  Created on behalf of Health Education England in partnership with NHS England-Improvement.  Supported by Skills For Care, this Hub is for everyone on the front line health and care services.

3.    Covid-19 Support for NHS OH Teams

NHS Health at Work, supported by NHS England and NHS Improvement, are working hard to share good practice from colleagues around the country and from the key standard-setting organisations such as FOM and PHE.  Check out our web-pages containing the latest guidance, top tips and case studies from NHS OH teams.

We have also worked with NHS England and NHS Improvement to establish a Dynamic Purchasing System (DPS) framework to support NHS OH managers to procure additional OH staffing resources as and when needed.  This is in addition to the list of over 250 occupational health volunteers offering their support to NHS OH teams.  If you wish to access that list please contact us on our admin e-mail address below.

4.    Network Benefit: MoHaWK

Round 16 has now closed. If you have the opportunity to have a break from COVID-19 related activities then think about pulling your report.  The system is designed to enable you to pull your own reports.  Just click on the report tab of the system and choose ‘Round report’ N.B. sometimes you have to be patient and let your browser catch up when the report is downloading!  It is recognised that at this moment in time, that some continuous improvement work may be put on hold as you deal with demand relating to the current situation.  The FOM / MoHaWK team will advise on whether Round 17 will take place next month.

If you have any queries surrounding the reports then contact hilary.winch@nnuh.nhs.uk (I will try to respond as quickly as I can – but like many of you I am supporting frontline staff).

5.   Migraine at Work - Guidance for Managers

This guide is intended to support employers to manage migraine optimally in the workplace. It was developed by the Work Foundation and sponsored by Novartis Pharmaceuticals UK Ltd, and developed with input from NHS OH colleagues, including Kings College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust.  The NHS Health at Work Network is referenced, with a link through to the business section of our website for employers seeking occupational health support.

We hope that by sharing this valuable tool for supporting employees with migraine in the workplace, an estimated 10 million people of working age will benefit

The guide provides insights into the symptoms of migraine and gives examples of minor workplace adjustments which could have a large impact on supporting employees to better manage the condition. It also includes best practice for managers and HR staff and introduces a Migraine Action Plan to support individuals and their managers to take practical steps to improve their experience and contribution at work. The guide is the first of its kind and helps managers to better manage and support their workforce. 

This guide also follows on from the Work Foundation’s Society’s Headache’ report published in 2018, which captured the socioeconomic impact of migraine. The report found that £8.8 billion is lost from the UK economy annually due to reduced productivity and absenteeism relating to migraine. This amounts to an average of 86 million workdays lost every year due to the condition.

6.    Public Health England – Every Mind Matters

PHE have launched a new campaign to support people to manage their mental wellbeing during this difficult time, using Every Mind Matters self-care resources. 

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have endorsed this new campaign and have provided the voiceover for a new short film to help drive PR activity and for the TV ad.

To help support the Government's response and to reinforce key messages, there are a number of new resources available on Campaign Resource Centre (CRC).

7.    HSE Update – Respirator Fitting and Protecting Lone Workers

If a respirator is incorrectly fitted, it will not provide you with protection.

HSE is advising healthcare workers currently using respiratory protective equipment (RPE) on the importance of ensuring it is fitted correctly.

Tight-fitting respirators rely on having a good seal with the wearer’s face. A face fit test should be carried out to ensure the RPE can protect the wearer.

Watch our video, featuring HSE's Chief Medical Advisor Professor David Fishwick, which provides guidance on how to fit RPE correctly.

You can also read HSE's press release about the importance of fitting RPE correctly.

Due to social distancing, lone working has become far more common.

HSE has guidance for employers to keep lone workers healthy and safe.

Their recently revised leaflet Protecting lone workers: How to control the risks of working alone is for anyone who employs lone workers, or engages them as contractors etc, including self-employed people or those who work at home.

It has been updated to include advice on work-related violence, keeping in touch, and the impact of lone working on stress and mental health.

8.    Latest Research

‘First Experience of COVID-19 screening of health-care workers in England’

Published online in the Lancet this week, introduced by our colleagues, and one of the authors, Dr Elizabeth Murphy, Occupational Health Consultant at Newcastle Hospitals NHS Trust, who writes:

“Newcastle University and Newcastle Hospitals NHS Trust research, led by Dr Chris Duncan shows that the rate of infection for frontline clinical NHS staff is no higher than for those in non-clinical roles. It also shows that screening of symptomatic NHS staff including some GP practice staff has allowed staff to return to work sooner. The screening programme involved email communication with OHS and swabbing by a team of screening staff deployed by the Trust. Results were processed by the laboratory team working 24 hours per day and emailed to the employees by OHS. The rapidly changing profile of symptoms and assessments required a fast and flexible approach to the programme and essential clear communication strategies.” 

You can view the article here.

Office for National Statistics – The Impact of Covid

Main points:

  • Over 4 in 5 adults in Great Britain (84.2%) said they were very worried or somewhat worried about the effect that the coronavirus (COVID-19) is having on their life right now
  • Just over half of adults (53.1%) said it was affecting their well-being
  • Nearly half of adults (46.9%) reported high levels of anxiety
  • Just over 1 in 5 adults (22.9%) said it was affecting their household finances
  • Staying in touch with friends and family remotely was the most common action that is helping people cope with staying at home (76.9%)

Nearly 2 in 5 adults (39.7%) said the coronavirus was affecting their work. For those aged 16 to 69 years, this increased to 47.2%. The main reason for this concern was a decrease in hours worked because of workplace closures or reduced opening times.

For many, this concern was also caused by being asked to work from home, redundancy or closure of their own business. However, for some it was because of needing to work additional hours or not being able to take leave.

You can see more of the report here.

Mental Health Foundation – Recent Poll 

A YouGov poll commissioned by the Mental Health Foundation has found that millions of people are feeling panicked and unprepared for the coronavirus outbreak.

Key Points:

  • The survey, carried out before a full lockdown was imposed, found that more than one in five adults in the UK had felt panicked.
  • The poll found that one in three people had felt unprepared and one in ten felt lonely and nearly one in five felt hopeless. This will form part of a larger study which will look at the impact of coronavirus on mental health.
  • Dr Antonis Kousoulos, the Director of Research at the Mental Health Foundation said: “This poll was carried out before full lockdown was introduced. Even then, there were clear indications that the pandemic was beginning to have a significant impact on the nation’s mental health.” He added: “Among the issues we will need to monitor are impacts on levels of trauma, suicidal thoughts and mental health vulnerability.”

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                                            chair@nhshealthatwork.co.uk

Andrew Gilbey, Network Manager                         admin@nhshealthatwork.co.uk

Postal address: NHS Health at Work, PO Box 857, York YO31 6FR