Intended for healthcare professionals


Improving workplace health in the NHS

BMJ 2020; 368 doi: (Published 09 March 2020) Cite this as: BMJ 2020;368:m850
  1. Azeem Majeed, professor of primary care1,
  2. Kaveh Asanati, consultant occupational physician and honorary clinical senior lecturer2
  1. 1Department of Primary Care and Public Health, School of Public Health, Imperial College London, London, UK
  2. 2National Heart and Lung Institute, Faculty of Medicine, Imperial College London, London, UK
  1. Correspondence to: A Majeed a.majeed{at}
    or @Azeem_Majeed on Twitter

NHS must fix its poor record on staff health, for the sake of patients as well as workers

As one of the largest organisations in the world, employing around 1.5 million people,1 and the provider of publicly funded healthcare in the UK, the National Health Service should be a role model in workplace health. It should be providing employers with guidance and good practice that can be replicated elsewhere. However, currently the NHS performs poorly on many measures of staff health. For example, sickness absence rates among NHS staff are higher than the average for both the UK public sector and private sector.2

The health of NHS staff is a key factor in determining how well the NHS provides healthcare to patients.3 Improving workplace health and the support available to staff with health problems—such as enabling them to return to work after absence due to sickness—should be priorities for the NHS.

The importance of good working …

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