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NHS fail to help obese staff

20th April 2011

A study has found that the NHS is not doing enough to tackle obesity within its own workforce.

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Figures, obtained by the Royal College of Physicians (RCP) and the Faculty of Occupational Medicine, have shown that only 15% of trusts have a policy or plan to help encourage staff to adopt a healthier lifestyle.

The findings come in the first national audit within the NHS of National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) public health guidance for the workplace.

It gathered evidence covering 900,000 employees from 282 trusts across England and followed on from the Boorman Review of 2009, which recommended that the health and wellbeing of workers be embedded in the core business of NHS organisations.

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.”

Department of Health data has suggested that a majority of the NHS’ 1.2 million employees have issued with their weight.

As many as 300,000 would be classified as obese, and a further 400,000 would be regarded as overweight.

The study found 42 trusts that did have a plan or policy for tackling staff obesity.

However, only 13 measured uptake of any programmes by different staff groups such as by grade, gender or ethnicity.

 

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