South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust (SWASFT) is launching an innovative new service on Tuesday 1 December 2015 as a measure to further support the physical and mental health and wellbeing of its workforce, who by the very nature of the work they do, are often exposed to traumatic and disturbing events.
The new Staying Well Service (SWS) is provided in addition to the various support mechanisms already available to staff (like debriefings following challenging incidents for example). They can access this facility for problems and issues stemming from their personal life as well as situations occurring at work which are adversely affecting them.
Anyone accessing the SWS can be assured that their situation will be dealt with sensitively and in strict confidence. Accessible via phone or email, the service has been designed to meet the challenges associated with delivering a range of emergency and urgent care services on a 24-hour basis across an area spanning a fifth of England.
The Trust employs over 4500 staff and it is important that each and every individual has a range of help and support services available to them when they need it. Stress, anxiety, financial concerns, drug or alcohol problems, physical injuries and domestic violence are some of the triggers for people to get in touch with the trained professionals staffing the service.
Callers may be signposted to occupational health, physiotherapy or specialist counselling services. The Trust is also receiving invaluable support from organisations like PTSD UK, the Samaritans and a number of safeguarding boards.
As well as acting as a support service for those already in crisis, the purpose of this new initiative, which combines the skills of safeguarding, HR and clinical professionals, is also designed to act as a proactive service encouraging people to ‘stay well’.
Ken Wenman, the Trust’s Chief Executive is delighted that the Trust is offering staff this new support service and said: “We take the health and wellbeing of our workforce extremely seriously. The nature of their work means they are much more likely to encounter challenging and distressing situations than people in other occupations and we need to ensure that we provide them with a comprehensive range of support mechanisms.
“I would like to take this opportunity to sincerely thank our supporters, including the Samaritans and PTSD UK. The expertise and support they are providing is invaluable and will no doubt make a real difference to individuals who need to access the services on offer. Our staff carry out a fantastic job in serving their local communities and we are delighted to be able to offer them this new service.”
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