28 October 2020  by William Monaghan (NHSX Director of Operations)

NHSX is committed to working with SMEs and start-ups to improve the contribution of technology to healthcare. William Monaghan, our Director of Operations, discusses how over the past few months we’ve been working with one particular SME to prioritise our own teams’ mental health and wellbeing.

Will Monaghan

At the start of the pandemic we recognised the additional pressures that our staff were going to face. Over the period of a week we shifted to almost everyone working from home and changed the majority of what  we were working on. We wanted to do the best we could to  respond and support the NHS during the first few weeks and months of COVID-19.

We joined forces with an SME to help ensure we were having the right conversations around internal mental health and wellbeing, making sure our teams could stay connected and supported.

We chose to partner with GoVox, a UK founded business, that provides a platform focused around trying to help people share and express their emotions. It also allows our internal leadership to use the platform to pinpoint exactly how people are doing and who needs additional support.

The recently published NHS People Plan emphasised the need for all parts of the NHS to provide further support for their staff who have been under increasing pressure since the response to COVID-19 began.

The type of online tool, that we’ve introduced internally in NHSX, can be a key asset to help other NHS organisations support their own staff to stay safe, and healthy – both physically and psychologically – something which is of critical importance to all employers within the NHS.

Within NHSX, as with the whole NHS, our staff went above and beyond to adapt and work in new ways to help deliver a series of important projects to help support the NHS – from simple guidance on Information Governance to enable clinical staff to work remotely to giving the NHS the data and insight it needed to manage the crisis most effectively.

In order to deliver this work and more our staff had to change their working patterns, quickly get stuck into new areas and work in new ways. All of which has a significant impact psychologically on each of us regardless of our role or previous experience.

It was and is very important to us that we encourage our staff to feel confident to raise their hand and tell us before any problem or situation becomes too big to handle, and GoVox has helped us with that. It provides a safe space to share and it is transparent so leaders can help where necessary. A mechanism which is important to how the platform works.

In recent months, individuals and teams have done a huge amount to support each other, including regular team check-ins. We are proud of how the NHS is responding to the new wellbeing needs of its people but for us internally GoVox progresses it just one step further.

GoVox has been deployed to the 420 people working within NHSX and has helped us connect with our teams when staff have been working at distance. The platform has also provided an open outlet to capture and report use to feedback any thoughts, concerns or worries.

At NHSX we will continue to champion our staff’s physical and psychological wellbeing using this and other tools.

We are committed to working with SMEs and start-ups to improve the contribution of technology to healthcare, our work with GoVox is an example of this core mission in action.

View the original article on the NHSx website here.