Only 15% of NHS trusts in England have a policy or plan to help combat staff obesity, according to a report by the Royal College of Physicians (RCP) and the Faculty of Occupational Medicine.

The findings come from the first national audit within the NHS, which assessed whether the trusts are following the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) public health guidance for the workplace.

The audit report revealed that trusts were failing to follow NICE guidelines on physical activity, with only 32% of the participating trusts having a plan or policy to encourage and support staff to be more physically active.

Less than one in three of the participating trusts offered evidence-based weight management programmes for their staff.

In addition, just 31% of trusts promoted healthy options for staff in their shops.

The audit assessed data from 282 NHS trusts responsible for close to 900,000 NHS employees in England.

RCP Health and Work Development Unit director Dr Sian Williams said there is a growing body of evidence to prove that employers who look after their employees will see a more efficient workforce.

“Trusts that implement the NICE workplace guidance can expect healthier and more productive staff and better patient outcomes as a result,” Williams said.

NICE is a special health authority of the NHS in England and Wales, and is responsible for providing national guidance on promoting good health, and preventing and treating ill health.