NHS staff should be given immediate access to dedicated mental health support when they need it, Health Secretary Matt Hancock has pledged.
In a speech at East London NHS Foundation Trust later today, the Health Secretary will unveil new plans that could see NHS staff offered targeted interventions when they experience traumatic incidents at work alongside new wellbeing initiatives to improve their day-to-day working environment and support their mental health.
Stress is believed to account for more than 30% of staff sickness absence, costing the NHS up to £400 million every year, according to NHS Employers.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock said:
“I love the NHS and have enormous respect and admiration for the dedicated staff who make our health service what it is today. Working under pressure, NHS staff put themselves in some of the most challenging situations imaginable as part of their unwavering commitment to caring for us all. So they deserve unwavering support from us all.
“I’m so proud of the service NHS staff give, so the mental and physical wellbeing of the people who work in our health service must be our utmost priority. Today’s important report helps guide how we can do that, from creating the right culture of support to giving everyone somewhere to turn in the toughest times.
“NHS staff have been there for me, and they have been there for my family – so I’m determined to make sure we are there for them too.”
The initiatives are recommendations by Health Education England in a new report on the mental health and wellbeing of NHS staff and learners, commissioned by the Department last year.
The Long Term Plan for the NHS – backed by an additional £20.5 billion a year by 2023/24 – provides a clear commitment to making the NHS a consistently great place to work. This includes creating a modern employment culture which promotes flexibility, wellbeing and career development to properly value current NHS staff.
Matt Hancock will today highlight his personal commitment to transforming that culture, with a potential new package of support for staff which includes:
The measures outlined today should help NHS organisations make positive progress on sickness absence rates, staff performance and retention. The latest NHS staff survey showed that currently fewer than a third of staff felt their organisation took positive action towards improving their health and wellbeing.
The Department has welcomed the Commission’s report and the recommendations will be considered forward as part of the Workforce Implementation Plan led by NHS Improvement Chair Dido Harding and Leeds Teaching Hospitals Trust Chief Executive, Julian Hartley.
The report’s leaders heard from staff whose wellbeing had been affected by their experiences in the NHS workplace, as well as talking to family members who had lost relatives through suicide whilst working for the NHS. They also visited organisations who were already demonstrating good practice in supporting staff mental and physical wellbeing to understand how these initiatives could be rolled out across the NHS.
Professor Ian Cumming, Chief Executive, Health Education England said:
“If someone is looking to join the NHS, whether through education and training, an apprenticeship or direct employment, they should be able to see and feel that the health service is bringing to life the statements expressed in the NHS Constitution.
“More support is needed for those who care and better care is needed for those studying to become healthcare professionals. This is why I am committed to making sure that the commission takes full advantage of this opportunity to make a real difference to the NHS health and care workforce and to those studying to become our future healthcare staff.
“It is vital that staff feel they are supported and that employers have the right procedures in place to offer all the help that may be needed. The mental wellbeing of staff contributes positively to patient care so we must get it right.
“As a caring and compassionate organisation, the NHS attracts staff with these values, but it must be recognised that in giving care you also absorb some of the concerns and issues of the people that you are caring for. We must do better for those in the caring professions. And we must care better for those studying to be professionals. This Commission will make that happen.”
Two thirds of senior decision makers in London businesses buy food online and are big supporters of having all tax accounts digitalised, according to new figures released today.
The poll, run by YouGov for HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC), found that 66 per cent buy food online and 69 per cent support having all tax accounts digitalised.
HMRC is now inviting businesses across the capital to join its digital revolution by ditching paper receipts and signing up for Making Tax Digital instead.
Most businesses above the VAT threshold will need to keep their records digitally and submit their VAT return using compatible software when MTD is introduced for periods starting on or after 1 April 2019.
In practice, the vast majority of businesses won’t need to send their first MTD return until August at the earliest, but if they aren’t already keeping their records digitally they will need to start doing so. HMRC are encouraging more businesses to get involved early by getting software and starting to test the service now.
Mel Stride, Financial Secretary to the Treasury, said:
“Anything that helps businesses to manage their tax more easily so they can focus on what they do best – innovating, expanding, and creating jobs and profits – is what every modern business needs.
“In a world where customers and suppliers are already banking, paying bills and shopping online, it makes sense for HMRC and businesses to bring tax affairs fully into the 21st century.
“Going digital with business records and taxes is the next step to businesses getting more control over their business and their finances.”
Theresa Middleton, Director of the Making Tax Digital for Business Programme, said:
“There is no change to ‘what’ information is provided through MTD, just ‘how’ it is recorded, generated and provided. We want to help businesses be ready for the changes which kick in for VAT periods which start on or after 1 April.
“We’ll have written to every business required to join this year by the end of February, but even back in December over 80% of them were aware of the changes they need to make and the vast majority of those are already preparing.
“More than 16,500 businesses have already signed up to do their VAT digitally – why don’t you join them?”
For most businesses their accountant or other tax representative will already be aware and will advise them how and when they need to make changes to be ready for the new service. Those already using software will simply need to ensure it is MTD compatible before joining the new service.
For those who are not using an accountant though, it is quick and easy to sign-up and there is lots of information available to help them prepare, including about what software is available.
What businesses need to do?
Mel Stride, Financial Secretary to the Treasury, speaks about MTD here:
Easy to use guides for businesses, agents and others including easy-to-follow advice are available here:
Webinars and videos for Making Tax Digital are available: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/making-tax-digital-for-business-stakeholder-communications-pack/making-tax-digital-for-business-stakeholder-communications-pack#additional-support-and-guidance
MTD is part of the government’s #Smartergov campaign which was launched to drive innovation through the public sector.
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