Keeping police service healthy as resources slimmed down-South Yorkshire force hosts national conference

Thursday, 11 November, 2010

A different view on the effects of the government's Comprehensive Spending Review is being discussed in Sheffield this week as dozens of Occupational Health Nurse Advisors to the Police Service meet for their annual conference.

It is the first time that South Yorkshire Police has hosted the nationwide event, dubbed 'Coming of Age' as its OHNAPS' eighteenth conference.

Yet it could not have come at a more critical time with forces faced with making massive savings, undoubtedly leading to change and heaping pressure on staff.

Said SYP's Occupational Health Manager, Sharon Whitehouse: "The most important resources of the police service are the officers and support staff. They need appropriate investment to enable them to support such transformation that will deliver long-term savings for the service and long-term resilience and benefits to the public.

"In a future where there will be fewer resources but an expectation of increased productivity, that investment needs to be concerned with improving the health, wellbeing and management of officers and staff.

"The conference agenda is focused on how occupational health practitioners can assist their police services in meeting the challenges ahead. The mantra is 'good health IS good business'."

Commented SYP Chief Constable Meredydd Hughes, who gave an opening address to delegates this morning: "Our staff are our most valuable asset. Their health, safety and wellbeing are critical to forces' ability to deliver the services which society needs and expects.

"Sickness has a major impact on efficiency in terms of absence, financial resources and the effect on the staff that are left to cover for those who are absent.

"It also impacts on a wider group, namely the families of officers and staff, and the communities we serve."

CC Hughes was followed by key speaker Dame Carol Black, whose 'Working for Healthier Tomorrow' review in spring 2008 provided the then government with ideas on how to improve the health of the nation.

Other speakers at the conference include SYP's Chief Supt Keith Lumley, from Operational Support Services, and Rotherham Response Chief Insp Nev Hamilton, who'll talk about the impact of a personal health event and occupational health, besides stress and nutrition expert Jeanette Jackson and human givens practitioner Bill Andrews, who'll speak about evidence-based therapy for managing emotional health.

The conference, which is being held at the Hilton Hotel, ends tomorrow afternoon (12/11/10).

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