After years of hard work, Central Gippsland Health (CGH) has successfully achieved all state benchmarks in the Healthy Workplaces Achievement Program, giving it the status of a Health Promoting Workplace.
The Healthy Workplaces Achievement Program is a State Government initiative that recognises workplaces that are providing a healthy environment for staff to thrive. The program is centered on best practice approaches to promote healthy eating, physical activity, mental health and wellbeing, reducing smoking and alcohol and other drug use among staff.
CGH committed to the Healthy Workplaces Achievement Program in 2014 with the CGH Health and Wellbeing Working Group being established soon after.
CGH Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Dr Frank Evans, said it was important to recognise that staff know what is working well and what isn’t.
“When you involve staff in collective decision making about the solutions, they are more likely to be able to spot effective and interesting solutions that will work for them,” he explained.
CGH placed an even greater focus on staff wellbeing over the past few years with many being uniquely impacted as primary healthcare providers following drought, bushfires and a pandemic. All of these compounded the effects on the health of staff.
CGH’s Achievement Program journey was supported by the Cancer Council, Healthy Eating Advisory Service, Wellington Primary Care Partnership and Alfred Health. These stakeholders worked closely with the Health and Wellbeing Working Group to implement many changes including incorporating Healthy Choices into its food services. Healthy Choices aimed to ensure staff, patients and visitors had healthy options to choose from when visiting the hospital café, kiosk and vending machines. Another key component of its commitment to creating a healthy workplace was ensuring staff had access to facilities that enabled them to be more active such as change rooms, bike racks, standing desks and bikes to travel to and from home care appointments.
CGH also invested in fully subsidising the cost of supports to help staff quit smoking such as nicotine replacement therapy, and opened access to its physiotherapy gym for staff use.
However, the investment was not only in infrastructure, but also in creating a healthy culture that supports mental and physical wellbeing.
“This is only the beginning for CGH, with plans to continue the Health and Wellbeing Working Group to build upon its achievements to help staff and volunteers thrive,” Dr Evans said.
“A culture of wellbeing has now been built at CGH with staff participating in annual healthy initiatives that not only allow us to raise awareness about health, but also work alongside our community to provide opportunities for everyone to be healthier.”