Health bosses were today accused of wasting taxpayer cash as it emerged medics were being invited to a week-long ‘wellbeing festival’.
NHS staff in the East of England can attend a range of virtual sessions from Monday.
Some are designed to boost wellbeing, offering stressed staff a ‘compassionate space’.
One, bizarrely named ‘what if we were salmon?’, aims to help workers who feel they are ‘swimming hard against the current’.
Other sessions include a ‘boys club’ for men confused about the menopause, ‘dynamic breath work’ and a class with former TV fitness guru Mr Motivator.
But Government sources slammed the series of events as ‘errant nonsense’, saying it was proof the NHS has ‘gone completely tonto’.
Critics said the event ‘couldn’t come at a worse time’, with the health service battling multiple crises, including record backlogs, deadly ambulance delays, and access issues with GPs and dentists.
Staff in NHS East of England are invited to virtual sessions at a wellbeing festival from Monday next week, where one will ask them ‘what if we were salmon?’ (left). Other sessions include a ‘boys club’ for men confused about the menopause (right), ‘dynamic breath work’ and forums on ’emotional freedom’
Officials said the event would help workers who feel they are ‘swimming hard against the current’ (pictured, newly-appointed Health Secretary Therese Coffey)
But Government sources slammed the ‘errant nonsense’ being put on offer, including sessions with former TV fitness guru Mr Motivator (pictured)
What sessions are on offer at the NHS wellbeing festival?
What if we were Salmon?
This interactive, supportive session will pose the question, what if we were Salmon?
Do you ever feel like you’re swimming hard against the current, longing to get to calmer waters?
In this time together we’ll explore what might it be like, how could we get there and offer a chance for you to share how it feels right now.
Are you confused when people talk about Menopause?
Do you want to help, but feel lost as to how?
Are there people in your home/work life who are experiencing menopause?
If you’ve answered yes to any of the above, then this session is for you.
Come along and discuss your concerns/confusion in a safe environment with our Boys Club facilitators.
Learn about how you could support the people in your life better.
Workout with Mr Motivator!
Iconic fitness guru Mr Motivator, known for his bubbly personality and colourful outfits, joined Sarah, Nicole and Gem from the East of England Staff Experience and Engagement Team and a group of energetic staff members at the Addenbrooke’s Hospital site to record a workout and motivational talk for all our regional colleagues to view and participate in at their leisure!!
The wellbeing festival, as it has been dubbed, renamed its salmon session ‘resilience under pressure’.
But the NHS psychological support service Here For You, which advertises events for staff working in Essex and Hertfordshire, still lists it under its original name.
Its description reads: ‘This interactive, supportive session will pose the question, what if we were Salmon?
‘Do you ever feel like you’re swimming hard against the current, longing to get to calmer waters?
‘In this time together we’ll explore what might it be like, how could we get there and offer a chance for you to share how it feels right now.’
Meanwhile, the ‘boys club’ session on menopause is pitched to men who ‘want to help, but feel lost as to how’. It is designed to help male staff support people in their life going through ‘the change’.
All the sessions are free for NHS medical and backroom staff and it is not clear how many will be attending or how much the events will cost in total.
Forums will take place during standard working hours from Monday to Friday — but it is not clear if staff will have to take time off to do them.
A Government source told the Daily Telegraph: ‘This kind of errant nonsense is more proof of an NHS gone completely tonto.
‘Whilst ordinary Brits are worrying about what the winter will bring, NHS managers are wasting money on this rot.
‘The new health secretary must be sharpening her axe with glee to cut waste like this and focus the NHS on looking after people who need help.’
And a health worker described the event as ‘just outrageous’, questioning why funds were being spent on TV personalities like Mr Motivator.
The fitness instructor — real name Derrick Evans — was awarded an MBE earlier this year after rising to prominence in the 1990s on GMTV.
Danielle Boxall, of the TaxPayers’ Alliance pressure group, told MailOnline: ‘Taxpayers expect NHS Trusts to be focused on frontline care, not wasting time on wellbeing workshops.
‘While patients face serious delays to their appointments and operations, NHS middle managers are busy organising a progressive programme of lectures and events.
‘NHS bosses must put a stop to this kind of waste and get back to tackling the huge health backlogs.’
NHS England figures show 6.8million patients were in the queue for routine hospital treatment in July, equivalent to one in eight people. Nearly 380,000 have been waiting for over one year
Emergency unit data shows that three in 10 Britons were forced to wait longer than four hours in A&E departments in August, while nearly one thousand per day waited for 12 hours
Ambulance response times recovered slightly in August but the time taken for paramedics to arrive on the scene was still well above targets
Data from NHS England to revealed the waiting list for routine operations, such as hip and knee replacements, rose to a record 6.8million in July.
The backlog shot up to record highs before Covid. But the pandemic, and knock-on effects of lockdown, have seen queues soar even further.
Meanwhile, horrifying ambulance delays have even seen patients wait 40 hours to be taken to hospital.
Heart attack and stroke patients have to wait an hour on average for an vehicle to turn up, according to the latest NHS data — more than triple the 18-minute target.
At the same time, patients have complained about how difficult it is to see both their GP and dentist.
A spokesman for the NHS in the East of England said: ‘This regional event was designed to offer NHS staff help with finances and cost of living as well as managing fatigue following the pandemic, so that they can better focus on delivering for patients.’