Why is a healthy workplace and getting involved in your community important?
In line with the BCA’s public affairs work and our current focus on chiropractors’ impact on their local communities, Jennifer Barr, BCA Communications Committee Member and Associate Chiropractor, explores why nurturing a happy and healthy working environment, as well as supporting the wellbeing of staff and patients, is essential for the wider community.
Through completing the Royal College of Chiropractors Post-Registration Training Programme, I carried out a clinical audit on how our clinicians in the clinic were documenting and supporting the wellbeing of our patients. This led me to update our notes system to enable more streamlined documentation of discussion and advice regarding wellbeing. Additionally, we began to utilise our local service, Healthy Lifestyles Gloucestershire, which is commissioned by Gloucestershire County Council. The website displays advice and access to both in-person and online support. The most popular services are for smoking cessation and weight management. There is also an associated Best-You app where you can create goals, track progress and chat with other members. The Healthy Lifestyles website presented the opportunity to complete the Gloucestershire Healthy Workplaces Award, which my clinic director was happy to support and implement. We went on to be presented the Gloucestershire Healthy Workplaces Award where we were joined at an awards evening by fellow recipients of the award, including GP surgeries, charities and other local businesses.
What is the Healthy Workplaces Award?
The award recognises the importance of investing in a happy and healthy workforce, celebrating businesses that support their employees by promoting:
- Health and wellbeing
- Mental wellbeing and stress reduction
- Back pain prevention
- Smoking cessation
- Alcohol and substance abuse support
- Physical activity
- Healthy eating
- Good recruitment and retention
- Good communication
We developed each of these subsections as a clinic, creating and updating policies and procedures, as well as resources educating our staff members and providing links to appropriate support where needed.
Why is supporting a happy and healthy workplace important?
Employers have a duty of care to their workforce to support their health and wellbeing. Not only it is a legal responsibility, but encouraging a happy and healthy working environment enables employees to thrive at work by increasing productivity levels, reducing absenteeism and improving overall performance whilst positively impacting their wellbeing outside of work in their personal lives.
In the UK, the cost of presenteeism (approximately £17-26 billion) is higher than absenteeism as a result of ill health1. According to Historical Picture Statistics in Great Britain (2023), stress, depression or anxiety and musculoskeletal disorders accounted for the majority of the 35.2 million days lost due to work-related ill health in 2022/23, with 17.1 million and 6.6 million days lost respectively2.
As healthcare professionals, supporting our own and our peers’ wellbeing is imperative. If we do not have adequate wellbeing ourselves, we are not in an optimal position to help our patients.
Why is supporting the wellbeing of those in our community important?
NHS England reports that almost 40% of the disease burden in England is due to preventable factors such as tobacco, alcohol, obesity and high blood pressure3. In addition, over 75% of deaths from cardiovascular disease and almost 50% of deaths from cancer, are linked to preventable risk factors. A separate report by the Mental Health Taskforce for the NHS highlights that mental ill health has an economic and social cost of £105 billion a year in England and the cost of mental health support and services adds to £34 billion each year4. Furthermore, it is estimated that 40% of the burden on health services in England may be prevented by addressing avoidable chronic conditions and their risk factors5.
Wellbeing describes how an individual is coping and how they feel about themselves relating to physical, behavioural, psychological and social factors. The better our wellbeing is, the more we can effectively contribute to our society, cope with the normal stresses of life and improve the quality of day-to-day life.
Researching local resources such as the Healthy Lifestyles and Healthy Workplaces websites is a great place to start when looking to improve wellbeing in chiropractic clinics and the wider community. Chiropractors are in an advantageous position to help support each other and our communities, to promote flourishing lifestyles and reduce the burden on our National Health Service.
Members, tell us about your impact within your community
In our 2023 Member Survey, members told us that our work as the voice of the chiropractic profession was highly valued. We have appointed a public affairs partners, Tendo, to work with us on how the BCA can influence the political agenda, with our first angle focused on how BCA members make a difference in their communities.
We need you to tell us about the work you’re doing to make a difference locally.
Please help us gather information and data on the brilliant work you are doing to support your community, such as:
- Providing discounted/complimentary treatment to local manual labour workers, for example through corporate schemes.
- Any other initiatives where chiropractic treatment is accessible to a variety of communities, such as drop-in baby clinics, student and pensioner discounts or outreach work with the homeless.
- Stories/case studies about helping patients get back to work following treatment.
- Are you working with other healthcare professionals locally (for example, with the NHS to help meet local population health needs)? Where can we demonstrate examples of BCA members breaking down siloed working in healthcare?
There may be others – please tell us!
- Hampson, E., Mecu, B., Soneji, U. and Mc Gahan, H. (2017). Mental health and employers: The case for investment Supporting study for the Independent Review. [online] Available at: https://www2.deloitte.com/content/dam/Deloitte/uk/Documents/public-sector/deloitte-uk-mental-health-employers-monitor-deloitte-oct-2017.pdf [Accessed 7 Feb. 2024].
- Health and Safety Executive (2022). Statistics – Working Days Lost in Great Britain. [online] www.hse.gov.uk. Available at: https://www.hse.gov.uk/statistics/dayslost.htm [Accessed 7 Feb. 2024].
- NHS England (2019). Cardiovascular Disease Where are we now? [online] Available at: https://www.england.nhs.uk/wp-content/uploads/2019/08/NQB-Workshop-to-inform-Long-Term-Plan.pdf [Accessed 7 Feb. 2024].
- Mental Health Task Force – NHS England (2016). The Five Year Forward View for Mental Health. [online] Available at: https://www.england.nhs.uk/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/Mental-Health-Taskforce-FYFV-final.pdf [Accessed 7 Feb. 2024].
- Parliament UK (2017). House of Lords – The Long-term Sustainability of the NHS and Adult Social Care – Select Committee on the Long-term Sustainability of the NHS. [online] publications.parliament.uk. Available at: https://publications.parliament.uk/pa/ld201617/ldselect/ldnhssus/151/15109.htm [Accessed 7 Feb. 2024].