The inquiry, which was conducted by the British All-Party Parliamentary Group on Mindfulness, found frontline public servants could be less likely to fall ill with stress, or quit altogether, if they engage in mindfulness.
A number of small pilot studies on the potential impact of mindfulness in the public sector are already underway in the UK. One hundred frontline health workers in Surrey were given mindfulness training last year and showed a fall in sickness absence, according to the UK Department of Health. Several prisons are running pilots to see how mindfulness can help convicted criminals avoid re-offending while 300 teachers in a network of academy schools in the northwest of England have also been trained.
‘[Mindfulness] could be rolled out to prison staff, GPs and in key professions where there is big burn out,’ said Chris Ruane MP, co-chair of the group. ‘If we prove conclusively that mindfulness can stabilise those individuals it would be a great benefit to society.’
‘Absenteeism costs the public sector a lot and giving people mindfulness training could save money in the short and long term,’ added co-chair Tracey Crouch MP. She added that interest in the practice is growing in Westminster and that she knew of two British Cabinet ministers who use mindfulness techniques. Sixty MPs and 55 peers have also had training in mindfulness.
The report represents the most significant political pressure yet to bring mindfulness into the mainstream.