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Bevan Exemplar Cohort 4 Projects

Staff Wellbeing Advice and Support Service

Bethan Lavercombe, Mathew Tidball and Rachel Turner

Swansea Bay University Health Board

This Bevan Exemplar project introduced a telephone support service for health board staff.


Staff with common health conditions (such as muscle/joint pain, stress, anxiety and depression) previously waited between six and eight weeks for an initial appointment with the staff wellbeing service. Feedback suggested that staff health was declining during these waiting times, increasing the potential to become a sickness absentee or leading to longer sickness absence if on sick leave.

Project Aim

To develop a prudent, early intervention telephone-based support service to enable staff to speak to the relevant professional within a minimum of seven working days. This initial wellbeing assessment would take 20 minutes, and the Advisor would discuss the employee’s needs and provide advice, signposting to other services or arrange appropriate support from the team.

Key Outcomes

  • 95% of employees referring themselves for health & wellbeing support are offered an initial wellbeing assessment within five working days.
  • 20% of those referrals require no further support, therefore releasing resources for the remaining 80% who do require further support.
  • Staff who previously had to wait 6-8 weeks are now able to receive this within a week.
  • 67% of staff who were absent from work at referral had returned to work at discharge.
  • 72% of staff reported that the service had a positive impact on their work status.
  • 59% of 1,321 staff accessing the service in the first year were ‘presentees’ – seeking support to remain in work and therefore sickness absence and associated variable costs may have been higher without the Wellbeing Service.

“The main benefits were having someone who was supportive and in regular contact with me. I have now returned to work successfully and have learnt many coping strategies that will help me to stay well and look after myself.”

Staff member

“The programmes and support offered have really helped staff to remain in work whilst managing some very challenging personal situations. The wellbeing service remains our first port of call whenever discussing personal or workplace challenges, with which the team feel they would benefit from extra help.”

Line Manager


  • Managing staff expectations during the transition to a telephone wellbeing assessment, as staff were used to a face-to-face service.
  • The Wellbeing Advisors adapting to a different way of working and undertaking telephone based assessments, including shorter screening/advice calls and signposting staff to other relevant services when appropriate.
  • Challenges were overcome by the Advisor using their skill and expertise to explain the benefits to the employee and the shorter timescales to receive appropriate support. The new service was described and communicated to staff using bulletins on the Intranet and e-mail networks.

Next steps

To continue developing the service, measuring outcomes and disseminating the learning to potential adopters.

“Being a Bevan Exemplar has been both a valuable and supportive experience, providing excellent networking opportunities. It has been inspiring to learn about other initiatives and provided a platform to promote our work.”

Project Team