There are many ways to save a life. The latest research shows that improving the health of doctors, nurses, ICU staff and paramedics improves the delivery of patient care.

This means people seeking hospital treatment get better care from staff who are well.

Before the pandemic, we had developed an evidence-based intervention that halved rates of PTSD and depression in paramedics.

During the pandemic, we modified it to target risk factors that are specific to healthcare workers.

Called SHAPE, the programme achieves reliable recovery rates of 94% for PTSD and 65% for depression in just six weeks.

We are now evaluating whether this training for new wellbeing coaches across the south-east is good value for money and effective.

Work-related stress has been an all-time high for me and my peers due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Fortunately, though, my weekly calls with my wellbeing coach have mitigated that stress significantly. For this, I am eternally grateful. I feel very lucky to have had this support.”

– A paramedic who had SHAPE over six weeks.


Do wellbeing coaches, outside of the development team, achieve similarly high recovery rates? Answers to our questions will give vital information about how to implement the programme across England, in other countries and how to update it for at-risk occupations.

Working with seven NHS Trusts, we expect to improve the lives of over 200 healthcare workers by the end of September 2022 and with further funding, over 400 in the next year.

Importantly, this project offers scope to reach significantly greater number of people as we determine robust methods for dissemination nationally that could also be applied internationally in our work with our collaborators in Singapore, Australia, the US and Canada.

Studies have demonstrated that improving the health of front-line staff improves the delivery of patient care, meaning that the impact of a healthy hospital workforce directly benefits the general population through earlier physical health recovery and return to work after hospital treatment.

These sorts of benefits are invaluable, with potential for substantial societal cost savings.

Pathways to impact

To use this research in the real-world, outside of a trial, we need to demonstrate that SHAPE can be scaled up and still work as well as the original intervention.
This is often a challenge in public health.

We have adopted a train-the-trainer model to train a core group of wellbeing coaches who could become supervisors to train and supervise further wellbeing coaches in the delivery of the SHAPE intervention.

We currently have 40 trained wellbeing coaches to deliver SHAPE.

We will compare the outcomes they achieve with their cases to the outcomes achieved by the research team.

This will allow us to evaluate our wellbeing coach outcomes and calculate the costs associated with delivering SHAPE, including supervision, which will inform the potential success and costs of this approach for much wider adoption across the NHS.