Following the launch of the new Public Health Ministers' Award, Kate Sanger Communications Manager at RSPH, looks at why workplace health and wellbeing should be a priority.

In the current climate where resources are stretched and budgets are being cut, workplace health and wellbeing can easily be neglected. However when the association between the health of employees and their productivity has been proven in countless studies, why is this still the case?

The economic cost of sickness absence and worklessness as a result of ill health are estimated to cost the UK economy £100 billion a year, therefore it is evident the employers have much to gain from taking the health and wellbeing of their employees seriously and a huge business case exists for investing workplace health in order to sustain a healthy, happy and productive workforce.

With the population facing worrying trends in ill health including the increasing obesity epidemic, we should be grasping every opportunity to improve health and the workplace should be recognised and promoted as a healthy setting. Whether an individual works on a building site, in an office or in a factory, they should have the opportunity to access information and develop skills in order to improve their personal health and wellbeing and also that of friends, family and colleagues.

A growing number of organisations have started to make workplace health a priority and a huge number of successful schemes and initiatives now exist. Encouragingly during the recession, the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development found 20% of organisations increased their efforts to promote employee health and wellbeing. Celebrating such schemes is one way we can raise the profile of workplace health and this has been recognised by the Minister for Public Health Jane Ellison who has established a new award scheme.

The new award has been launched by RSPH in partnership with the Department of Health to recognise innovative and successful workplace health schemes that exist in organisations across England.

We are welcoming applications from any organisation or team that can demonstrate the impact of their programme on their employees so if your team, workplace or organisation is committed to improving its employees’ health, or if you know of an organisation or individual who may be interested in the awards, please visit to find out more and apply.

The final date for submissions is Friday 18th July so make sure you don’t miss out on applying to be the first ever winner of the new Minister’s Award!