News and events News Space to Breath - valuing greenspace at NHS sites for staff wellbeing A new research report, Space to Breath, published by the Centre for Sustainable Healthcare shows gardens and other green spaces at hospital sites have an important role to play in supporting staff wellbeing. This year-long study focused on three NHS sites that had taken steps to encourage their staff to relax and recharge in greenspace. Staff stress has long been a critical issue for the NHS, where in 2019 more than four in 10 staff reported feeling unwell as a result of work-related stress in the last 12 months. These problems have been greatly exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic, making staff wellbeing a greater priority now than ever. The research shows that there is a strong appetite among health staff to take time outdoors - either for breaks or in the course of work - and points to a range of wellbeing benefits. The study found: At each of the sites a large majority of staff (83-89%) said they would like to spend more time in greenspace at their site than they currently did. Benefits described included feeling relaxed and calm, refreshed and re-energized and positive effects on mental and physcial wellbeing. A sizable proportion of staff (44-52%) said attractive green spaces were important to them in considering where to work - suggesting that this affects recruitment and retention. Staff who said they regularly spent time in their sites' green spaces during the working day reported significantly higher levels of wellbeing. The more ways in which staff said they spent time in green space at work, the higher was their reported wellbeing. The most common way in which staff spent time in green space at work was taking a walk at the site during a break. This points to strong potential for encouraging informal walking, either alone or with others, an initiative that had already proved successful at one of the sites in the study. While relatively few staff at each site had engaged in organised recreational activities at work, such as Qigong or gardening, those who had had slightly higher wellbeing scores than those who had not. Staff who had face-to-face contact with patients spent less time in green space than those who did not. However, contact with patients was also found to predict wellbeing. This suggests that staff spending time with patients in green space enjoy a dual wellbeing benefit. The study was carried out in collaboration with the University of Essex and with support from the Health Foundation, an independent charity committed to bringing about better health and healthcare for people in the UK.