Professor Dame Carol Black is Principal of Newnham College Cambridge, Expert Adviser on Health and Work to the Department of Health, England, Chair of the Nuffield Trust, and Chair of the Governance Board of the Centre for Workforce Intelligence. She was a keynote speaker at the recent International Conference on Physician Health
Whatever the nature of their work, whatever skills they bring to bear, however strong their calling and dedication, employees come under the influences of their workplace and of those who employ them. It is as true for doctors as it is for the drivers of tube trains, the builders of Olympic stadia or civil servants in Whitehall. The evidence, gathered painstakingly over many years, in such different arenas of work, is consistent and strong. It leaves no doubt about the characteristics that we look for in identifying good work and a good workplace.
The effects of workplace influences are felt and measured to varying degrees in ways that are clear. First is the personal health and wellbeing of employees – their physical health and their mental health, the former often measurable declared, the latter often masked and hidden.
Second is the performance of the group, the team, and ultimately the institution for which they work. In health care such performance is measured in terms of the quality of patient experience, the safety of care and health outcome.
These measures correlate with features common to organisations which have achieved success in promoting staff physical and mental health and well-being. ...continue reading