Hospital Dr News

“Trusts are failing to tackle staff obesity”

Only 15% of NHS trusts have a policy or plan to help combat staff obesity, a report reveals.

The findings come from the first national audit within the NHS of NICE public health guidance for the workplace. Implementation of the NICE guidance was recommended by the Boorman Review which found clear associations between better staff health and wellbeing and reduced MRSA rates, lower standardised mortality rates and increased patient satisfaction.

The report also finds that trusts were failing to follow NICE guidance on physical activity, with only 32% of the participant organisations having a plan or policy to encourage and support staff to be more physically active.

The audit, by the Royal College of Physicians and the Faculty of Occupational Medicine, assessed data from 282 NHS trusts responsible for close to 900,000 NHS employees in England.

It finds that less than one in three of the participating trusts offered evidence-based weight management programmes for their staff.

Just 31% of trusts promoted healthy options for staff in their shops.

Out of the 42 trusts that did have a plan or policy for tackling staff obesity, only 13 measured uptake of any programmes by different staff groups such as by grade, gender or ethnicity.

Dr Sian Williams, director of the RCP’s Health and Work Development Unit, said: “The results are very disappointing. There is a growing body of evidence to prove that employers who look after their employees will see a more efficient workforce. Trusts that implement the NICE workplace guidance can expect healthier and more productive staff and better patient outcomes as a result.

“Patients expect health professionals to practice what they preach and trusts need to implement the best management practices to maintain the health of their staff.”

A Department of Health report published in 2009 estimated that of the 1.2 million staff in the NHS, approximately 300,000 would be classified as obese and a further 400,000 as overweight.

Read NICE public health guidance for the workplace.

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4 Responses to ““Trusts are failing to tackle staff obesity””

  1. Bob Bury says:

    Could sort this overnight – they just need to confiscate the nurses’ Quality Street stash.

  2. joshek says:

    Did you actually DO this when in post or are you having an episode of post-retirement courage?

  3. chrissa says:

    going between a nurse and her quaility street box makes going between a pitbull and his bone feel like a piece of cake!

  4. Malcolm Morrison says:

    The last paragraph means that over 50% of staff are overweight! Not setting a very good example to patients who might rightly suggest we “practise what you preach”!
    Maybe this represents the fact that (we are told) that all professional staff spend all their time sitting at a desk filling in forms!

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