First co-designed wellbeing initiatives selected to support ACT’s health workforce

The first three wellbeing initiatives have been selected by Canberra Health Services teams to support the health workforce as part of the ACT Government’s $8.5 million Health Workforce Wellbeing and Recovery Fund announced in October of this year.

Twelve inter-professional wellbeing working groups came together in October as part of a series of Staff Wellbeing Forums to present their ideas, with three being chosen to immediately commence being rolled out across the health service. The three co-designed initiatives chosen are:

  • Creating a restorative wellness space
  • Implementing a peer support program and
  • Rolling out a Health Wellbeing Index App.

Minister for Health Rachel Stephen-Smith said that after a few very challenging years the Wellbeing and Recovery Fund will further support ACT public health workers.

“This has been and continues to be an incredibly difficult time for our healthcare workers and these initiatives are evidence-based workforce designed ideas that will make a real difference to our frontline staff,” Minister Stephen-Smith said.

“It is really exciting to see the wellbeing teams using this funding and feeling empowered to come together to co-design the initiatives that are best for their workplaces to support wellness and recovery.”

The wellness space will provide a restorative area for self-care and reflection that is physically and deliberately separate from regular workspaces. This will encourage health workers to check-in, take a break and receive support away from the pace and demands of the health service.

The peer support program will offer a 24/7 access system in which trained peers can provide informal and confidential support, at short notice, to any CHS team members who are experiencing difficulties in the workplace or at home.

The Mayo Clinic’s Health Wellbeing Index App provides individuals and the organisation with a measurement of wellbeing. It also provides resources they can use if in distress, as well as deidentified data to pinpoint areas to executives that need support.

Initiatives and tools such as the Mayo Clinic’s Health Wellbeing Index App have been recognised as important solutions for health care organisations to implement as part of fighting burnout and promoting wellbeing for the health workforce.

A further nine initiatives will be implemented across the organisation following these initial three.

“These initiatives alongside the work we are doing across our health services to promote a positive culture, create a safer environment and make our health services really great places to work will mean we can continue to transform our health services for our staff and for our community,” Minister Stephen-Smith said.

“In November Canberra Health Services held its annual CEO Awards, a key part of the work to promote a positive culture through recognising the work of our dedicated staff. All winners of the CEO Awards throughout the year have been great examples of our amazing health workforce in the ACT and I congratulate each of them and all those nominated for awards.”

Canberra Health Services is also developing the next three-year Staff Wellbeing Strategy with the health workforce, to further ensure the health and wellbeing needs of staff are being met at an organisation and system level. The Strategy is due to be released in the first quarter of 2023.

The Health Workforce Wellbeing and Recovery Fund is available for teams across ACT public health services, including Canberra Health Services, Calvary Public Hospital, Clare Holland House, QEII and the ACT Health Directorate.

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