Royal College of Nursing reduces staff absence

Royal College of Nursing logo

The Royal College of Nursing reveals the secret of reducing sickness absence and saving money.

The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) decided to roll out a health and wellbeing programme to improve staff absence levels, morale and staff engagement. An action plan was developed following the results of a staff stress survey.

Pauline, Organisational Development Advisor at the Royal College of Nursing explained “The plan involved training up some of our own staff as health and wellbeing advocates. Once trained, they were able to deliver a programme of 90 minute modules on self-care, self empowerment, health motivation, behavioural change, social, psychological and physical health and wellbeing to staff.”

A yearly calendar of health and wellbeing events was also put together. Events ranged from Nordic walking and cycle to work schemes. 

Investing in health saves money

Our health and wellbeing advocates have been greatly assisted by the resources and support available from the British Heart Foundation.

Pauline Lethwaite
Organisational Development Advisor

Since the health and wellbeing programme was introduced sickness absence has reduced to 2.1%. There has also been a 16% reduction in long-term absence, bringing with it a financial saving of £68,000. The programme itself has received external recognition: The RCN was placed 21st in the Sunday Times Best not-for-profit organisations to work, achieved the Gold Investors in People status and the Investors in People Health & Well Being Award, all in 2012.

The British Heart Foundation tools have been designed with the needs of the modern workforce in mind. The BHF Health at Work e-newsletter and updates is part of the way we ensure our health and wellbeing advocates are kept fresh, up to date and motivated.” Pauline says.


If you want to find out more about how you can set up Health at Work initiatives in your organisation, join our health at work programme. If you've got a case study to share, please contact us. We’d love to hear from you.

More useful information