Welcome to our June 2020 e-bulletin

/Board members/Shriti_Pattani

Dear Colleagues

I still feel overwhelmed by Covid-19! Whilst my Trust are encouraging staff to take time off and recuperate after the recent peak the OH team are still inundated with Covid related work.

Two main issues are occupying my time - covid risk assessments and antibody testing.

Antibody testing is the hot topic  and talking to colleagues some have followed a similar process to flu vaccinators, having peer phlebotomists whilst others have delegated it to a separate testing team who are managing the process independent of OH. Whichever route you are following it’s a huge amount of workload bearing in mind we are still asking the question  ‘what does it mean’?  PHE are about to publish guidance on interpretation of Covid-19 antibody test results and we await that with interest.

At our Board meeting last week we welcomed new members Hazel Ade-Williams (East of England), Steven Forster (North East) and Helen Parsons (South East Coast).  One overwhelming message was how Occupational health in the NHS is being recognised as an important speciality and this is our opportunity to flag the value we add to our Trusts – the value we have known about for years!

On this note I have been working closely with Dr Anne De Bono, your previous Chair and now President of Faculty of Occupational Medicine, to promote the work we are all doing.  Indeed I understand from Board Colleagues that their HR Directors are talking about the work that the NHS Health at Work Network is doing to support the NHS.  So well done to all of you and keep up the good work!

With best wishes

Shriti Pattani



In this edition:

1. NHS Health at Work Network COVID-19 Resources

2. Member Benefit: Ask-A-Question

3. Coronavirus Resource Centre

4. HSE COVID-19 Guidance

5. NHS Wellbeing Support

6. Member Benefit: MoHaWK

7. Network Annual Conference

8. NHS Network Board Meeting

9. NHS Employers Update

10. Latest Research

The next edition will be circulated week commencing 29 June 2020.

1.    NHS Health at Work Network COVID-19 Web Resources

The value of our NHS Health at Work Network has never been more apparent over the last few months.  With your help and contributions, notably including colleagues at FOM, SOM, PHE and HSE,  we have developed and shared an extensive range of case studies, research and guidance to help local OH teams implement new ways of working, and saving colleagues from having to ‘reinvent the wheel’.

Check out the full range of resources here.

We have also been working closely with NHS England and NHS Improvement to introduce a dynamic purchasing framework of additional ad hoc support to supplement your own OH teams.  If you feel you may need to buy-in additional resources to support your local OH delivery either during the pandemic, or the recovery phase, this can be accessed here

2.    Member Benefit: Ask-A-Question

One of the unique benefits of being a Member of the Network, is the ability to ask a question of your colleagues around the country – often very helpful when you are wanting to learn from others about how they are tackling a specific issue that you are grappling with in your own Trust. 

Questions this year alone have ranged from staff recruitment, IAPT service models, Covid-19 swabbing, mental health referrals, flu vaccination opt-out, and OH opening hours and DNA rates – to name but a few!  Check out all the questions and answers on our website.

If you have your own question you wish to ask, just e-mail it to admin@nhshealthatwork.co.uk and we will do the rest.

3.    Coronavirus Resource Centre

Public Health England HM has created a campaign, in line with the latest advice, explaining the actions we all need to take to support the Government's strategy.

A suite of these campaign resources are now available on the Campaign Resource Centre

4.    HSE COVID-19 Guidance

The HSE has created guidance for employers and those who are self-employed and work with or near other people. It may also be useful to workers and their representatives, not only in your own organisations, but also where you may be providing OH support to external organisations under contract.

This guidance is designed to help businesses work safely and control the risks associated with Covid-19 at this time.

The guidance explains measures that can be taken to help businesses carry on working safely during coronavirus (sometimes known as being ‘COVID secure’), for example by putting in place social distancing measures, staggering shifts, providing additional handwashing facilities and how to talk with workers to help them stay safe.

Further detailed guidance is also available on GOV.UK for the following specific work settings:

  • construction and other outdoor work
  • factories, plants and warehouses
  • other people's homes
  • labs and research facilities
  • offices and contact centres
  • restaurants offering takeaway or delivery
  • shops and branches
  • vehicles

5.    NHS Wellbeing Support

The NHS has created a range of useful ongoing self-learning modules both at a clinical and corporate level, so staff are thinking about improving their personal/ team recovery and communication skills rather than dealing/thinking only about patient frontline activity.

There are a range of self-learning modules covering subjects such as compassionate leadership, holding difficult conversations, making decisions under pressure, personal resilience, and financial wellbeing to name a few.  Check out the full range of modules at https://people.nhs.uk/all-guides/

6.    Member Benefit: MoHaWK - It’s nearly time for Round 17 

It’s that time again, when MoHaWK is due to open for its next round of data submission / audits. The Faculty recognise that many OH services have been under significant pressure or had significant disruption over the last few months due to COVID-19 and therefore there will be no ‘deadline’ to submit your data. We will leave the Round open until December (just prior to Round 18 commencing) allowing you time to update as you are able. We have also not added any extra sections for this round so you do not have to update any electronic reporting. 

The data collection for the majority of topics is the month of June – so if you collect your data electronically there is nothing to do until July – by that point many of you may want a break from COVID related activities and can gradually start to submit data. If you collect your data manually then you may want to decide which subject areas you want to focus on for this round. I have attached the briefing paper with this message.

A reminder – in the previous Round we launched an  audiometry audit. This is sectioned into four parts detailed below:

  • Audiometry surveillance pre-test screening 
  • Audiometry surveillance test audit (this may be inappropriate to complete at present due to HSE guidance on undertaking surveillance tests)
  • Audiometry surveillance results audit 
  • Audiometry surveillance post surveillance 

You can choose to do one or all sections (you do not have to do them all). The test audit section can be undertaken as a supervised practice audit.

Audit collection tools are available to aid collating the data for submission to Mohawk for the paper record keepingelectronic record keeping and audiometry audits.

We are starting to explore areas to consider in relation to COVID. Please do send any thoughts on this to hilary.winch@nnuh.nhs.uk

7.    NHS Health at Work Annual Conference

A few of you have been asking whether our Annual Conference is still going ahead on 8 & 9 September at Chesford Grange Hotel & Conference Centre in Warwickshire.  We have been in discussions with the venue and are awaiting an update to Government advice before making a final decision, which we aim to do before the end of June.  So for now we are still working towards the original September date, but we will keep you updated.

8.    NHS Network Board Meeting

Your Network Board held their May Board meeting via teleconference on 18 May.  The summary notes from the meeting are available here.

9.    NHS Employers Update

NHS Employers have developed an extensive range of helpful resources and support packages for NHS teams and staff:

Staff wellbeing and support – This page contains a new section on supporting Muslim staff during the month of Ramadan in light of COVID-19 restrictions. 

Risk Assessments for staff – This page contains guidance for employers on how to carry out risk assessments for staff, including vulnerable groups, during Covid-19.

Mental wellbeing – This page has been updated with recommendations from the British Psychological Society on the three phases of support for NHS staff as they respond to COVID-19, which employers should consider when developing and implementing robust and comprehensive mental wellbeing support offers.

Support available for NHS staff – This page contains the latest support available for NHS staff including national discounts and NH­­S England and NHS Improvement’s offer for supporting staff mental wellbeing and those staff experiencing bereavement and loss.

Occupational health - This page contains updated information on how to access a framework to buy additional occupational health and employee assistance programme capacity, to supplement in-house teams.

Infection control - This page has been updated to include recent updates on PPE, information on the testing of staff and household members showing symptoms of COVID-19 through a new online portal and resources to support employers to communicate this.

Supporting our most vulnerable people - This page has been updated to reflect the most up-to-date government guidance on protecting pregnant staff and shielding staff who are extremely vulnerable due to underlying health conditions.

10. Latest Research

Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Trust working with the eLife Sciences organisation have published their latest research into the screening of healthcare workers and the role of asymptomatic carriage in COVID-19 transmission.  The research paper is available 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 here.

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