Health risk assessments for at-risk staff

The Trust's approach

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Derbyshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust (DHCFT) made a policy and strategy decision to implement a 'people first' policy. We committed as an organisation to invest in the safety of our colleagues.

  • Our COVID-19 incident management team made an early decision to take a risk-averse policy towards staff with underlying health conditions. On 23 March 2020, a formal decision was made to send home staff members with any underlying health condition, as defined by the long-term health condition list, or those who were pregnant. This was fully and rapidly enacted for all staff in this group. Staff were asked to self-assess with their manager, and all of our organisation undertook that review. Any staff member who had an underlying health condition as defined by the shielding list and at-risk (now 'clinically vulnerable') list, or who was pregnant, was proactively moved to home working.
  • At the time our incident management team also undertook a decision, endorsed by our Board, to implement the use of technology at a faster pace and encourage video consultations with patients wherever possible using Attend Anywhere.
  • We designed an individualised BAME risk assessment earlier than many organisations, and implemented it in collaboration with our BME Staff Network. This was launched on 4 May 2020 but the process of developing the risk assessment had begun some time earlier, before the national recommendation that employers should undertake these assessments with their BAME employees. The risk assessment process that we introduced takes account of environmental, health and social factors, which can be interlinked. It involves completing a form, which is available electronically, but also having a wider conversation with a manager about individual needs and circumstances.
  • We have also designed an individualised health risk assessment form for colleagues with underlying health conditions to complete before returning to the workplace. The assessment has been co-produced by our Nursing and Quality team and the University Hospitals of Derby and Burton Occupational Health team. The form allows colleagues to complete a self-assessment section, which is then reviewed by the Occupational Health team. Once the Occupational Health advice has been received, the individual colleague meets with their manager to update their form and agree next steps and a personalised plan for the future.
  • As a result of the individualised assessments, a wide range of adjustments have been introduced including restricted duties, working in lower-risk areas, Vitamin D supplements, paid travel to work to reduce public transport, and some changes to on-call duties. With both forms of individualised assessment, there is an expectation that the form and the outcomes will be regularly reviewed.

Trust metrics

Have you offered a risk assessment to all staff?

Yes. An individualised BAME risk assessment and an individualised health risk assessment have been offered to all colleagues across our organisation. It has been a Trust health and safety policy to implement a risk reduction staff management approach since March 2020.

In addition:

  • Where colleagues have household members or family members who identify as BAME, we have also invited these staff to undertake the BAME risk assessment
  • A report on all staff aged 70 or over and all male staff aged 60 or over has been reviewed to ensure these specific staff have undertaken an assessment.

What percentage of all your staff have you risk-assessed?

In March 2020, we assessed the risks and asked for self-declaration of 100% of staff. As noted above, on 23 March 2020 a formal decision was made to send home staff with any underlying health condition, as defined by the long-term health condition list, or those who were pregnant. This was fully and rapidly enacted for all staff in these groups.

This was a group risk assessment and staff were asked to self-assess with their manager, and all of our organisation undertook that review. Therefore 100% of employees were involved in this process. Any staff member who had an underlying health condition as defined by the shielding list and at-risk (now 'clinically vulnerable') list, or who was pregnant, was proactively moved to home working.

Individualised BAME risk assessment:

  • Number of BAME risk assessments completed: 483 (this includes assessments where colleagues have household members or family members who identify as BAME)
  • Total number of BAME employees: 401
  • Percentage of BAME employees with a risk assessment: 100%.

Individualised health risk assessment before returning to the workplace:

  • Number of at-risk staff who have received a health risk assessment before returning to the workplace: 620
  • Percentage of whole workforce: 22.62%.

Individualised BAME risk assessment and individualised health risk assessment

  • Number of staff who have completed both an individualised BAME risk assessment, and an individualised health risk assessment before returning to the workplace: 125

Staff risk-assessed by staff group

Occupation Number in workforce
(headcount)
Number risk assessed % assessed of all risk assessments % assessed of roles in workforce
Nurses and health visitors 1001 223 29.93% 22.28%
Support to doctors, nurses and midwives 517 124 16.64% 23.98%
Scientific, therapeutic and technical staff 410 88 11.81% 21.46%
Central functions 377 83 11.14% 22.02%
Hotel, property and estates 157 32 4.30% 20.38%
Support to scientific, therapeutic and technical staff 76 20 2.68% 26.32%
HCHS doctors 130 14 1.88% 10.77%
Managers 43 7 0.94% 16.28%
Senior managers 23 2 0.27% 8.7%
HRA submitted to Occupational Health pre June 2020 - occupation not available 115 115 15.44% 100%
Not known   37 4.97%  

Figures last updated: 31 July 2020

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