You are here: Midlands & East of England

Recording Health and Wellbeing Conversations in ESR using Self Service

The experiences of University Hospitals of Derby & Burton NHS Foundation Trust

University Hospitals of Derby and Burton NHS Foundation Trust (UHDB) is one of the largest NHS trusts in the country, serving a population of more than one million and providing clinical services in forty-eight specialties. The Trust employs over 12,000 staff, across 5 sites, and looking after the health and wellbeing of these staff members is paramount, especially throughout the COVID pandemic and beyond.

Looking after NHS employees is a key theme in the NHS People Plan  

“From September 2020, every member of the NHS should have a health and wellbeing conversation and develop a personalised plan. These conversations may fit within an appraisal, job plan or one-to-one line management discussion, and should be reviewed at least annually. As part of this conversation, line managers will be expected to discuss the individual’s health and wellbeing, and any flexible working requirements, as well as equality, diversity, and inclusion. From October 2020, employers should ensure that all new starters have a health and wellbeing induction.” *[1]

To support organisations in tracking the number of employees that have had a health and wellbeing conversation, a review type of ‘Health and Wellbeing’ was introduced into ESR in April 2021, within the existing Appraisal functionality.


These review types can be entered into ESR by those allocated the Manager or Supervisor User Responsibility Profiles (URP) or they can be entered via Core Forms, by a central function.

UHDB recognises the importance of having wellbeing conversations with employees to understand how work can have an impact on individuals’ wellbeing and discuss any support that may be required to remain well. We have incorporated these conversations into our local inductions, line management discussions, training and development exploration and annual appraisals and reviews.

Once these conversations have concluded, Managers and Supervisors enter the date they took place via Self Service, into ESR, this gives us reliable data about how many wellbeing conversations have taken place and in which departments these conversations have taken place. Over 99% of the Health and Wellbeing reviews that have been entered into ESR at UHDB were entered by Managers and Supervisors via Self Service.

Siân Brown, People Services Manager at UHDB explains why the organisation chose to record Health and Wellbeing conversations in ESR and the benefits they have found:

Recording Health and Wellbeing conversations in ESR seemed like the obvious choice as it allows us to centrally monitor the numbers of staff who have had them and it allows managers to monitor it too, without too much additional work for them. In addition to this, we wanted to use the systems we already had within the Trust, but we did not want to add extra pressure to line managers by asking them to record the data in a new or complicated way.

Since we introduced Health and Wellbeing conversations and started monitoring compliance across the organisation by having the data in ESR, we have seen a reduction in vacancy, turnover, and overall sickness figures from the previous 12 months.

As well as recording Health and Wellbeing conversation dates in ESR, organisations are able to recreate their own Health and Wellbeing template electronically, using either HTML coding or the questionnaire builder functionality. Once the template has been built, either an employee or a manager can initiate the conversation via ESR, and this electronic template can be transferred between the manager and employee multiple times until it is agreed and then signed off by the manager.

The benefits of recreating appraisal templates electronically include:

  • reducing the impact upon the environment,
  • having one place for employees/managers to locate appraisal documentation,
  • eliminating the loss of appraisal paperwork which improves information governance standards,
  • being able to report on specific data items within the electronic templates using, locally created, bespoke BI reports, and
  • familiar system for employees/managers.

Delivering the People Promise

As set out in the NHS Long Term Plan and We are the NHS: People Plan for 2020/21, the NHS must lead the way in valuing, caring for, listening to, educating and rewarding our people.  We all want our people to be happy, healthy, and able to make changes throughout their career, ideally within your own organisation, but inevitably employees will leave at some point.

Understanding why employees leave the organisation will help to identify any patterns or trends. This enables the organisation to make changes to the working environment for the benefit and future retention of all staff.

Having Health & Wellbeing conversations with staff is a key factor in understanding how staff are feeling, identifying any issues or concerns, and making them feel valued, which in turn can help to retain their valuable skills in an organisation and the NHS.

The NHSBSA ESR team are working closely with regional NHSE&I Retention Teams to demonstrate how maximising ESR capability, such as recording H&W conversations in ESR, is helping to support and deliver local retention strategies.

Further Information and Help

If your organisation is looking to optimise its use of ESR capability and would like to join the 43 other NHS organisations in England who recorded Health and Wellbeing conversations in ESR during May 2022, or if you have any queries, please contact your regional NHSBSA ESR Functional Account Manager. Details are available on the ESR Hub here.

[1] We Are The NHS: NHS People Plan – action for us all 2020/21, published July 2020


No comments have been left for this article

Have your say...

Your name will be published alongside your comment but we will not publish your email address.

All comments will be reviewed by a moderator before being published.

Please ensure you complete all fields marked as mandatory.