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Literature Review on Employee Well-Being in the National Health Service (NHS) in the United Kingdom

An introduction to the concept of well-being

National Health Service is a sensitive sector since it deals with the life of a human being. If life is not taken care of with utmost concern, it runs the risk of being lost; thus, for workers in the health service to care for other people, they must be mentally well in the first place. Employees’ well-being is a determining factor in their performance in the workplace. It significantly contributes to good performance in the work sector; employers must constantly improve workers’ well-being. It would be impossible to perform well if one is unwell. A worker in the health sector performing his duties and not being in a state of well-being affects others negatively. Patients and other people will not be well treated. It will most likely lead to a worsening of their condition. The concept of well-being in the workplace must be at the forefront for all workers and those working in the health service since they deal with mild cases of caring for other people’s health. Therefore, their health should be good to take care of others. Reports from the NHS digital indicate that mental ill health takes a considerable percentage (20%) of sickness absence in the workplace (NHS). It indicates that work in the NHS is not as well as it should be since many workers are out of work and suffering from mental problems. Although it is normal for most workers to experience mental illness, getting the right help at the right time will help.

Factors impacting well-being at work

Good working conditions will promote good mental health for workers. It is vital to ensure that employees feel physically and psychologically safe. Thus even the type of work should meet an employer’s basic well-being needs. Workers should have the necessary equipment, training, and development to support them fully. The quality of the work rendered should be good. It is also influenced by the environment in which they work. If employers are happy in their work, and they love it and enjoy it if they are satisfied with it and are generally healthy, safe, and at peace, their well-being will likely be positive. Even the physical environment that surrounds them contributes a lot. It needs to be conducive and welcoming. In short, everything, even external, needs to help the workers produce to their best. Their well-being will determine a company’s or any organization’s long-term effects. The productivity of any workplace depends significantly on the general well-being of workers. As most employees count their profits, they recognize that the best resources lie in their employees. Enterprises and indeed any organizations should recognize the great need to take with great seriousness the wellness of their employees. Leaders have a vital role in reinforcing a positive attitude towards their employees.

Conditions of work within the National Health Service that may impact employees’ well-being

  1. Putting preventative measures in place so that staff maintains sound mental health. Encouraging mental health hubs and initiatives to be used by everyone – not just staff with mental ill health. Encourage self-help, self-care, and regular mental health maintenance training sessions. All these positively impact the workers’ well-being.
  1. Ability to manage stress

Workplace stress is quite common and should be kept in check. It causes its workers to absent themselves from work, thus leading to very low productivity. No worker can do well while in a state of stress and loneliness. Simple things like time management and following the duty roster can help eliminate unnecessary stress in the workplace since they are all minor challenges, and any change or challenge can amount to stress, whether big or small.

  1. Physical comfort and safety

Anyone will feel confident from the assurance that he is secure wherever he is, no matter what he is doing. It is valid for all workers too. With safety and comfort ensured, NHS workers will offer more than what is expected of them. Comfort in the workplace may have to do with good relationships with others, a good work schedule that is easy to follow, good relationships with one’s boss, and avoiding heaping work. NHS workers should especially be safe and comfortable because this is the same that they will transmit to the patients. Work-friendly places are very much recommended in the Health Sector because the environment may either built positive or negative effects built environment can have detrimental or beneficial effects on employees’ cognitive ability

  1. Mental health providers

Recruiting mental health providers in the organization can help employees when needed most since they give them the necessary support and encouragement)

  1. Social Connections

Workers must be surrounded by good people and friends they can rely upon all the time, in good and challenging moments. Good friends are good for one’s health. With the assurance and support f good friends, one will undoubtedly work well and produce the best work ever. Relationships with co-workers are essential; dealing with difficult colleagues can be very devastating, making life in the workplace challenging to bear.

  1. Time off

Time off is a beautiful time for relaxation and helps one avoid workloads and work-related stress. It helps workers not at risk of health problems like heart disease. Time off motivates workers, providing more energy and stamina to perform even better.

  1. Ability to remain joyful and resilient at work

(Davidson et al., 2022) have identified some dimensions of well-being for any working adult that help one to remain joyful and optimistic no matter the challenges encountered. Resilience is the capacity to adapt, change and respond to challenges. A resilient worker will therefore be able to recover from any form of setback. He will learn from the challenges and allow himself to grow, always open and willing to welcome new capabilities. They recommend happiness among workers. Happiness is an essential quality in a worker’s day-to-day life. A happy soul will tend to do more than is expected and be creative and healthy.

Conditions of work within the National Health Service that may impact the above

  1. Staff shortage

Workers will be obliged to work extra hours when there is no sufficient staff, creating a workload that the necessary staff could solve. Overworking is potential stress and burnout for workers. The lack of enough workers is a significant challenge in most health sectors, leading to heavy work. Tired and overly worked employees will not give their best, which gives negative results: for example, patients will not receive the best treatment and attention from doctors. It may lead to future deaths and worsening of the patient’s condition.

  1. Lack of sufficient pay

Most workers in the health service do a lot of work, but the pay is little. It makes the workers lose morale and the enthusiasm to work well. Healthcare workers do not perform their best and harm patients and the entire health sector. No one is ready to do double work with little pay. Most will go in search of greener pastures.

  1. Poor organization

Poor work organization will too lead to poor productivity. Every worker should organize their work in good time so that everything is done in time and done well. If there is no good organization, essential things will risk being left out; thus, the work will not meet its purpose. Everything, including duty rosters, should be well organized and brought to the attention of all workers. It is crucial as this will create order. Each worker’s role should be clear to them right from the first day they begin work, according to (Rajgopal, 2010).


Employees and employers should try to create good relations. Trust is important for both parties. Employees who feel trusted and appreciated by their employers will always render what is expected from them. Employers, too, should never hesitate to ensure that working conditions favor their employees’ physical and psychological health and safety. It ensures beautiful well-being in employers as (Turner, 2021) brings out. Most workers are somewhat lonely and non-passionate about their work. These are symptoms of mental imbalances and should be kept at bay as soon as they show themselves. Employers should take care of employees at all costs with diligence and kindness as they always work faithfully for them. They are sacrificing their time and their energy for their excellence. A little kindness can go far.

According to Colibri healthcare, working in health services may not be as easy as it looks, but it has its challenges; thus, workers should avoid working long shifts without resting. Organizing short rather than long shifts is better to render the best work. For example, it can be organized so that workers work 7 hours daily. It may either be on a daily or weekly basis.

Infant mortality rates have increased in the U.K., lagging the country behind many others on critical indicators of children’s health. Children should thus be given more medical care.’ An unhealthy child will require much medical attention in childhood and adulthood (Siddique, 2018). thus to avoid future complications, all the attention and care should go to children.

Many patients who are not in a position to arrive at the hospitals on time or whose sickness does not make them remain in the hospital should be followed from time to time. NHS should try to join up services outside hospitals (NHS long-term plan). These services may include mobile clinics or home care. It helps many patients remain under the doctor’s follow-up.

Some works lead to more mental health disturbances than others. Such occupations should be accorded to the most experienced, bold, and courageous workers who should receive full support from employees.

Training needs that may be appropriate

NHS staff need to train more employers. Workers in the NHS are few, and thus their service, even good, does not reach many people. Training more doctors, nurses, clinical officers, and so on is advisable. Medical personnel is few. Students need to be also encouraged to choose medicine as they study. There are not many people who love this field, thus the shortage. (Dixon &Alderwick, 2019)

Psychiatrists should be trained to help curb the high rate of infant death mortality by providing medical care to infants and children below five years.


Data from different countries indicate that mental health problems cause many employees to drop out of work. To avoid this, employers should do whatever it takes to alleviate workplace mental ill health. In the U.K., it is estimated that around 30–40% of the sickness absence is attributable to some form of mental illness. Other countries face such challenges as well. Mental health problems have significantly contributed to the increase in poverty since most employees, after continuous absenteeism from work, cannot continue. The management of mental health problems should be encouraged. It ensures that a person’s well-being and happiness are maintained. Unfortunately, most people face difficult situations at work and thus get mental illnesses such as stress, depression, eating disorders, schizophrenia, some personality disorders, and many others. Most workers have one or more of these conditions, and NHS workers are not an exemption. Challenges cause mental disorders. They may entail excessive thinking due to many problems. Financial issues, medical situations, or certain kinds of sicknesses lead one to have mental complications; for example, in the case of having to live with a terminally ill disease, some traumatic experiences such as sexual abuse will also lead to mental illnesses. Thus mental illnesses are not inevitable in one’s life; thus, one should cope with situations that cause mental disturbances.

Work might be a stressful thing in one’s life, even though it is good and helps one get income for one’s upkeep and family, granting a possibility to lead a good life. But one should not search for money at the expense of one’s health. Workers should take care of their health. Once health begins to deteriorate, it won’t be easy even to work. Thus the first thing to care for is one’s health. All other things are secondary. Work consumes much of one’s time, exceeding the time given to any other activity, including family and loved ones, and consuming one’s free time. All in all, work shapes one’s environment and relationships; no matter how stressful work is, one should be bold and resilient.


Davidson, D., Kilbane, J., Boyd, A., Shawhan, K., Jones, S., Singh, K., & Chamber, N. (2020). The final Report is the formative Evaluation of NHS England and NHS Improvement’s Culture and Leadership Programme. Retrieved September 1, 2022, from

Dixon, J., &Alderwick, H. (2019). The BMJ. Retrieved September 1, 2022, from

Rajgopal. (2010). Mental well-being at the workplace. Retrieved September 1, 2022, from;year=2010;volume=14;issue=3;spage=63;epage=65;aulast=Rajgopal.

Siddique, H. (2018). Five ideas from other health systems that could transform NHS. The Guardian Angel. Retrieved September 1, 2022, from

Turner, M. (2021). Psychometric Testing In Recruiting & Its Importance. Picked. Retrieved September 1, 2022, from


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