Department of Health

Healthy Workers Initiative

Ramsay Health Care

Ramsay is a large organisation that has established a comprehensive workplace health framework that allows individual hospitals to tailor activities such as targeted quit smoking programs to meet the needs of local staff.

Why did Ramsay implement a workplace health program?

  • To support employees to maintain good health and wellbeing;
  • To improve employee engagement/retention;
  • To provide a competitive advantage for the organisation when it comes to recruiting staff in an environment of skill shortages; and
  • To support an ageing workforce (more than a third of the Ramsay workforce is over 50 years old), which presents an increased risk of chronic health conditions.
The program aims to reduce the impact on employees with existing health issues and to reduce the incidence of healthy employees developing chronic disease in the future.

What workplace health activities does Ramsay undertake?

  • Healthy weight and nutrition programs;
  • Quit smoking programs;
  • Onsite exercise classes;
  • Health information seminars;
  • ‘Health promotion weeks’ such as Heart Week and Diabetes Week;
  • Organised classes through a local gym;
  • Pedometer challenge with teams from different hospitals;
  • Weekly meditation sessions; and
  • Organised volunteer activities.

Ramsay’s Strategy

The program was first implemented in 2002. In 2009, all 117 hospitals were invited to develop workplace health programs tailored to their local needs. In 2011, 20 hospitals had a program with more hospitals preparing to launch programs in 2012.
The program provides a framework for individual hospitals to develop and implement their own programs. Firstly, a member of staff is identified to fill the role of the Wellness Coordinator. The ideal person is one who embraces and values health and wellbeing and will be a good role model and program ambassador. The Wellness Coordinator manages the program on site and has a group of other members of staff who act as a Wellness Committee within the hospital to support them.
Secondly, the staff are surveyed and focus groups conducted to provide critical data about the health risks and needs of the workforce. Data collection also includes statistics on staff turnover, absenteeism and lost time through injury. The program is developed to ensure there are both health outcomes for staff and productivity outcomes for management.

Individual hospitals facilitate activities that staff identify to be of most benefit to them. Some costs are subsidised by the hospital and some activities are at a cost to the employee. If an activity is at a cost to the employee, Ramsay negotiates with external providers to attempt to make the activity or event more affordable.

Program Benefits

  • a number of hospitals have become smoke free campuses;
  • increased recruitment and retention rates;
  • reduced rates of absenteeism (outcome of combined HR policies and the workplace health program); and
  • reduced incidence of stress (outcome of combined HR policies and the workplace health program).
The Wellness Coordinators usually conduct an evaluation survey at the end of each activity and Ramsay Healthcare is currently developing a more consistent form of evaluation across the program.

About Ramsay Health Care

Ramsay Health Care was established in Sydney, Australia in 1964 and now operates 117 hospitals and day surgery facilities across Australia, the United Kingdom, France and Indonesia.