Blue Flower

Making best practice better for emergency service personnel

Ella Rhodes reports. 

People working in the emergency services encounter traumatic events, directly and indirectly, on a daily basis. Despite this there was an apparent gap in the NICE review of managing post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), updated last year, when it came to guidelines for emergency service personnel. Recently several psychologists from Public Health England and elsewhere have carried out a scoping review, funded by the College of Policing, into early interventions for trauma in emergency services staff.

The authors wrote that NICE guidance on PTSD in primary and secondary care was having a detrimental impact on research into early interventions following trauma. They gave the example of the recommendation against using psychological debriefing as an intervention. ‘This assertion is based on two studies subsequently found to be methodologically flawed, and without recognition of the increasing demonstration of the effectiveness of early interventions.’

Dr Richard Amlôt (Public Health England Behavioural Science Team) led the scoping review along with four colleagues from his department, psychologist and past Chair of the British Psychological Society’s Crisis, Disaster and Trauma Section, Dr Noreen Tehrani, and College of Policing Wellbeing Lead Dr Ian Hesketh. They examined 50 studies which explored early interventions, prevention, and trauma therapy in emergency services personnel, military responders during peace-keeping missions and humanitarian aid workers, using meta-ethnography to examine intervention outcomes. They also carried out 10 consultations with stakeholders and practitioners to learn more about best practice.

Overall the authors found that where early interventions are delivered in a way that make use of existing peer support in teams, respect an organisation’s culture and are supported by organisations and senior management, they can help emergency service personnel manage post-incident trauma. The authors wrote that the review may be useful in supporting the use of early interventions in other organisations and may inform future NICE guidance.

The review will be published in the Journal of Occupational Medicine’s special issue on mental health issues in the uniformed services later this year and can also be read here: 

I had the very great pleasure, earlier this week, of listening to a presentation by the fabulous Professor Russel Foster. Here is his TED talk, titled Why Do We Sleep? Enjoy!


National Wellbeing Forum

Following its launch in 2016, The National Forum for Health and Wellbeing at Work - led by Professor Sir Cary Cooper, Alliance MBS’ 50th Anniversary Professor of Organisational Psychology and Dr Paul Litchfield, the then Chief Medical Officer for BT - has increased its membership to 35 major global organisations including Shell, Rolls-Royce, NHS England, BP, Marks & Spencer, Barclays, Twitter, Microsoft, John Lewis Partnership, GSK, BUPA, HSE, CIPD, the Government and more.

The Forum is focused on improving workplace wellbeing in the UK and globally.  It aims to inspire organisations and their leaders to challenge the thinking of what healthy, high performing employees can bring to an organisation and to the productivity of the nation. Representing a large proportion of UK workforce, the major organisations included in the Forum aim to make a positive impact by changing policy and practice surrounding health and wellbeing. The goal is to reinforce that indeed, “good health is good for business, good business is good for health.”

To support this, growth a Project Co-ordinator and Forum Support have been appointed. Project Co-ordinator Lina Siegl is a PhD candidate at Alliance MBS and has shown a passion for occupational health and wellbeing throughout her academic career.

Also supporting the Forum, Dr Ian Hesketh is a former police officer and wellbeing lead. His interests are in organisational psychology and the impact of workplace phenomena that impact on workforce wellbeing.

Together they will support the National Forum by collating, distilling and presenting research and exchanging knowledge with subject matter experts. This will  inform discussions in support of forum subgroups and in the development of useful guidelines and toolkits. 

Some of the important topics that have already been discussed at the quarterly meetings of the forum include:

- The role of line-managers in creating healthier workplaces and enhancing productivity

- The impact of work-related technology (i.e. work emails) on people’s lives

- The impact of a multi-generational workforce on health and wellbeing

- Compassion at work

- Long working hours culture and its impact on health and wellbeing

- Supporting SME’s to create ‘good work.’

Future topics include mindfulness, resilience, mental health first aid and sleep.

Lina and Ian will also be working on the development of a website, so that developed policies, guidelines for good practice and toolkits can be publicly shared.

If you are interested in getting involved with the Forum contact  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  in the first instance.

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