THE Welsh Ambulance Service has been awarded the Gold Corporate Health Standard for its commitment to improving the health and wellbeing of its staff.
The Corporate Health Standard, which is funded by Welsh Government, delivered by Public Health Wales and supported by the Health and Safety Executive, is the quality mark for workplace health and wellbeing in Wales.
The Trust has a suite of initiatives in place to enable its 3,000 members of staff to be their best, including a Wellbeing Support Service, which offers confidential information and advice on matters which may be causing staff concern or to be off work.
Colleagues also have access to free counselling, eye tests and flu jabs as well as tax-free bicycles, childcare vouchers and discounted gym memberships.
Currently, the Trust is preparing to launch a Trauma Risk Management (TRiM) Programme to bolster the support it provides to colleagues who have experienced a traumatic event.
Claire Vaughan, the Trust’s Executive Director of Workforce and Organisational Development, said: “We’re under no illusions about the challenging nature of the work undertaken by our dedicated staff, who are out saving lives on a daily basis.
“Their jobs can be demanding both mentally and physically, which has an inevitable impact on their health and wellbeing.
“Looking after our colleagues is so important to us because ultimately, fit and healthy staff with a positive attitude deliver better care to patients.
“We’ve invested in our health and wellbeing services to make sure staff are supported to try to avoid illness where possible and to look after their own health, and we’ll continue to maintain a focus on this and explore further developments over the coming year.
“I’m thrilled that the Trust has received this award, which is the result of a lot of hard work by our health and wellbeing group supported by the Board.
“We’re already gearing up for platinum award, and look forward to the next stage of the journey.”
The Trust achieved gold status following a rigorous two-day assessment during which colleagues from all departments, including HR, health and safety, operations and communications, gave evidence to a panel of assessors.
The assessors also visited Wrexham and Tredegar stations and the Hazardous Area Response Team in Bridgend to view the facilities and speak to colleagues about their experiences.
Su Mably, Consultant in Public Health for Public Health Wales, said: “We are delighted to award the Gold Corporate Health Standard to Welsh Ambulance Services, and congratulate them for their hard work in ensuring gold standard employee health and wellbeing.
“We were extremely happy to have been invited to work with them to help them achieve this award.
“Being in good quality work is good for your health. Organisations are better places to work, as well as being more productive, when employees are happier and their wellbeing is looked after.
“Good workplace health can also reduce costs associated with sickness absence and high staff turnover.
“The Healthy Working Wales scheme works in partnership with employers, individuals and health professionals to improve health and wellbeing in the workplace.
“The programme allows organisations to progress at their own pace, and comes along with lots of helpful free support and advice from our specialist workplace advisors.”
The Corporate Health Standard is presented in bronze, silver, gold and platinum categories to public, private and third sector organisations implementing practices to promote the health and wellbeing of their employees.
The Trust was awarded the bronze Corporate Health Standard in April 2014, and the silver award in December 2014.