Straight Talk – Rachael Davidson

Happy New Year! After the mince pies and festivities of the Christmas period, many of us will be making resolutions about our fitness or maybe considering a healthier eating plan – and I’m sure teams around National Grid will be taking part in the Take 5 challenge.

I’d like to share details of some wider initiatives that we’re looking to make progress on in 2018.

As chair of the wellbeing steering group, I am passionate about doing everything we can to make sure you are as well and healthy as possible, and we have a number of things to update you on.

We’d like to give you the information you need to make good health choices. One of the things we are doing is making available a Haynes Health Manual to everyone. A little more down to earth than some of our other publications, it covers a wide range of conditions and topics. It may prompt you to be aware of an issue and be able to start to take action if it has been bothering you.

It’s easy to put a health or wellbeing issue to one side and not quite get round to sorting out a minor problem. The trouble with that is that minor problems have the potential to grow into bigger issues that can be much harder to address, so we want to do everything we can to encourage early intervention.

One area where this is really important in the workplace is the regular operational health surveillance checks – carried out to make sure colleagues are fit to work and aren’t exhibiting the early signs of a range of conditions. These are important for your own health and are also a statutory duty. Colleagues in Safety, Health and Sustainability are working with operational contacts to improve the process, and I would urge leaders and employees alike to make sure that you make these appointments a priority.

Another area, and one that we’ve been talking about for a few years, is mental wellbeing. We’ve made huge progress in increasing confidence in talking about mental health and, later this month, we’ll be putting more guidance out; including information on how to book mental health first aid training, so do look out for that. We really want people to feel that taking time to talk is valuable and important – not just on Time to Talk day on 1 February but throughout the year, both in our one-to-one discussions and in the daily work environment

I was delighted to see that the recent Business in the Community mental wellbeing survey showed that we are making strong progress in this area compared to industry benchmarking. One area where we excel is the use of our occupational health provision. This is currently being retendered and in February we’ll have an update on where we are with that – and the service we can expect with the new contract when it kicks in in April.

So have a happy and healthy 2018 – and do look out for the material and support that I’ve described.

Rachael Davidson
UK General Counsel & Company Secretary


  1. Kam Liddar says

    Dear Rachael Davidson

    I was very pleased to read your page in straight talk (29th Dec) on well being which included Mental Health, an issue that affects a lot of people but many are not talking enough about the issue.

    Given the recent announcement about the dentist closure which I (along with others), feel was not communicated well enough, as I had already taken out my flex benefits dental plan in November 2017, based on the NHS dentist at Warwick and I am now tied in for the 12 months to that plan!

    Another question I have is; are there any plans to close down the gym facility at Warwick? The gym here is something that has helped many staff with wellbeing and mental strength, if this is taken away, this could have a detrimental impact for many staff in Warwick on their wellbeing. A lot of staff are in car shares and it will not always be possible to have the flexibility to attend before or after work to an offsite gym.

    Your views would be greatly appreciated and thank you for your time.

  2. Jason Rawley says

    Dear Ms Davidson,

    I used to be very active as a young person, cross country running and walking. But lifestyle has since taken a more sedentary route. My 28″ waiste line has now become 38″ and I now realize this is putting added pressure on my lower back.

    My son has recently taken part in a local Run in the Park initiative on a Saturday morning and I shall be taking him up on his invite.

    Where can a copy of the Haynes Health Manual be obtained from?

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