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Winner: University Hospital Southampton

This award recognises organisations which have demonstrated a clear, significant and sustainable improvement in staff retention rates and the wellbeing of its workforce through innovative and robust processes. Employers who may be nominated will have shown a clear approach to implementing a wellbeing strategy for their staff, with evidence of improvement. Wellbeing of staff is crucial for the healthcare sector to maintain positive working practices and encourage staff retention. Nominees for this award will be recognised for making significant improvements to the quality of the workplace for their employees, which in turn may improve patient outcomes and service delivery for the wider healthcare sector.

The award-winning health and wellbeing programme was devised and delivered by a close partnership of University Hospital Southampton teams including Staff Wellbeing (Live Well), HR and the wider workforce.

Activities include health checks, mental health training and support, fitness opportunities and support to stop smoking for staff across the hospital. HR and staff worked together to revise a number of polices including equality, anti-bullying and harassment and flexible working.

The programme, which launched in 2016, was introduced to improve staff health and wellbeing and focus on the Trust’s ‘putting patients first’ value, with higher quality patient care provided by staff who are fit for work, attend work regularly, feel valued by their employer and are engaged.

The programme enhanced awareness of the important role of staff in influencing health behaviours in patients and local community but went on to have a positive impact on reducing sickness rates (currently at 3.3 per cent) while increasing retention, engagement and inclusivity.

Julia Smedley, Head of Occupational Health at University Hospital Southampton, commented: “We are so proud of our staff and of the Live Well programme that we provide to support them. We are delighted by the national recognition that the Our Health Heroes Award brings. Working together is one of our core values, and this is a fantastic example of close team working between occupational health and wellbeing practitioners, human resources specialists and staff across the organisation.”

John Rogers, Chief Executive at Skills for Health, said: “For the fourth year running I’ve been stunned by the quality of the nominations we have received for the Our Health Heroes awards. Congratulations to the whole team on being named winners; this award is a testament to their hard work and commitment to the wider team.”