NHS charities have been supporting the health of the nation since before the inception of the NHS 75 years ago by preventing ill health, improving services and facilities, and caring for healthcare staff. This work continues to be important today, with over 230 NHS charities across the UK supporting our healthcare services.
Thanks to generous donations, we’ve been able to send 50 Dartford and Gravesham NHS Trust staff on the Reset Health programme, which aims to empower people to make healthier choices that ultimately lead to healthier lifestyles and reduce the risk of disease, including reversal of diabetes and weight loss.
Not only do staff feel the benefits to both their physical and mental health, but a better cared for workforce are able to push their patient care even further.
Staff are provided with a tailored plan to help them make these lifestyle changes and are supported throughout with regular contact from the clinician who developed the plan, as well as a mentor who provides encouragement and motivation.
The majority of staff who have taken part in the programme found it so beneficial that they are now mentors for their colleagues.
Christine Williams is Head of Library Services and discovered she was nearly diabetic when she joined the programme in January 2021. She has since lost three stone, feels much healthier and full of energy, and has even become a mentor for other colleagues on the programme.
“I had gotten to the stage where nothing fitted me, and I didn’t feel as confident as I used to. Reset has boosted my confidence hugely and to be able to buy clothes and know they will fit is the best feeling.
“I also love seeing my colleagues progress with their journeys and I know how much of a huge benefit it will be to their lives. It’s great seeing how they improve through the changes they make and how great they feel.”
Before retiring after 50 years working in the NHS in December 2022, Karen Youens joined the programme after finding out she was pre-diabetic following her cancer diagnosis a few years earlier, and has gone on to become a mentor as well.
“Many of my colleagues have had fantastic results and have all been able to make positive lifestyle choices. The programme has a range of long-term benefits and is a huge confidence booster.
“I am so grateful this programme was available at our Trust, and because it’s made such a difference to my colleagues and myself, I have subsequently been invited to become a mentor which keeps me on track whilst supporting others.”
Bronwyn Botes joined the programme after it was recommended to her by her sister and her partner, who was involved in the earlier cohort of the programme and so had seen first-hand how well people had progressed.
“Prior to joining Reset, I was struggling majorly with my health and had gained a lot of weight. I applied for the programme, and I have honestly never looked back. It has been the best thing to happen to me and I am now 18 months in and mentor other colleagues.
“I am so grateful for NHS Charities Together funding and for our hospital charity putting it into action. It’s not something I would have been able to do on my own so having that support from the hospital has just made a big difference and really has changed my life!”
Now, over two years later, the programme is still running and a total of 250 staff have benefitted, with a reduced number living with conditions such as obesity, anxiety, depression and pre-diabetes.
The ultimate aim of the Reset Health programme is to make this support available across the country for both staff and the public. With your ongoing help, we can continue working alongside NHS charities across the UK to provide much needed support like this for staff, patients and communities.