Supported Wellbeing Centres have been set up in UK hospital trusts in an effort to mitigate the psychological impact of COVID-19 on healthcare workers, although the extent to which these are utilised and the barriers and facilitators to access are not known. The aim of the study was to determine facility usage and gather insight into employee wellbeing and the views of employees towards this provision. The study included (i) 17-week service use monitoring, (ii) employee online survey with measures of wellbeing, job stressfulness, presenteeism, turnover intentions, job satisfaction, and work engagement, as well as barriers and facilitators to accessing the Wellbeing Centres. Over 17 weeks, 14,934 facility visits were recorded across two sites (peak attendance in single week n = 2605). Facilities were highly valued, but the service model was resource intensive with 134 wellbeing buddies supporting the centres in pairs. 819 hospital employees completed an online survey (88% female; 37.7% working in COVID-19 high risk areas; 52.4% frontline workers; 55.2% had accessed a wellbeing centre). There was moderate-to-high job stress (62.9%), low wellbeing (26.1%), presenteeism (68%), and intentions to leave (31.6%). Wellbeing was higher in those that accessed a wellbeing centre. Work engagement and job satisfaction were high. Healthcare organisations are urged to mobilise access to high-quality rest spaces and psychological first aid, but this should be localised and diversified. Strategies to address presenteeism and staff retention should be prioritised, and the high dedication of healthcare workers should be recognised.
Keywords: COVID-19; mental health; pandemic; psychological wellbeing; wellbeing centres; wobble rooms.