Understanding staff wellbeing, its impact on patient experience and healthcare quality

Patient experience is widely recognised as an important component of quality care. Both relational and functional aspects of care influence health outcomes related to safety and effectiveness.

Relational aspects of care refer to the interpersonal aspects of care – the ability of clinicians to empathise, respect patients’ preferences, include them in decision making and provide the information to enable self-care. Patients expect health professionals to put their interests above other considerations and to be honest and transparent when something goes wrong, and good interpersonal care is highly valued by those using health services.

Good relational care depends heavily on health professionals as individuals and has substantial benefits. Effective communication between clinicians and patients – involving, for example, empathy, communication, respect for beliefs and concerns, and provision of clear information – will promote patient trust, which can benefit safety and effectiveness in a number of ways. Measures of patient and staff experience can, therefore, provide valuable insight into the delivery of high-quality care.

This report presents the reasons why, to deliver world-class care, the NHS and the whole health service need to ensure its staff are well looked after. It looks at ways to improve staff wellbeing and suggests strategies that should be adopted.

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