Two Thirds of NHS Staff Say Care is OK

Topics covered: Ridouts professional advice

According to an annual poll, more than two-thirds of NHS staff said they would recommend the care on offer at their local trust to their own friends and family. Of 203,000 staff questioned for the 2013 NHS survey, 65% said care was fit for relatives, 24% were unsure, while 11% would not recommend the service.

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt said that, ‘it is good to see that more staff would recommend the NHS as a place to work and would want friends and relatives to be treated where they work.’ He also said, ‘NHS staff have some of the hardest and most respected jobs in our country. It is good to see that more staff would recommend the NHS as a place to work and would want friends and relatives to be treated where they work but we know we need to do even more and our response to the Francis report set out how the NHS can promote openness and support staff to raise concerns in order to protect patients and give high quality care.’

The survey included GPs, ambulance staff, nurses, midwives and dentists as well as other health professionals. 90% of staff believed their job makes a difference to patients, 78% are satisfied with the quality of work and patient care they are able to deliver and 68% say, in their role, they are able to contribute improvements to the organisation.

Compared with 2012, more said there was good communication between staff and management, and more were being appraised and getting appropriate health and safety training.

However, work-related stress was up slightly, with more than a third saying they had experienced it in the last 12 months and a third said they had witnessed or reported potentially harmful errors or near-misses at work in the last month. Only 56% of staff said hand-washing materials, for example soap, are always available, with the figure being 59% in acute hospital trusts.

15% said they had been the victim of violence in the last year from visitors, patients or relatives, 28% had been bullied or abused by the same group, and 11% suffered workplace discrimination.

Sue Covill of NHS Employers acknowledged that many of the survey’s findings were encouraging but more needed to be done to protect staff. She said, ‘staff feeling valued and being valued is absolutely vital to the effective delivery of patient care and we believe it is an important factor behind many of the positive results.’

Peter Carter of the Royal College of Nursing was more critical and said, ‘only 30% of staff feel that there are enough staff to enable them to do their jobs properly and high numbers of nurses in particular continue to work extra hours. (82% compared with 81% the previous year.) Some 68% of staff have attended work while not being well enough to perform their duties in the last three months alone. It is hardly surprising that there has been an increase in work-related stress. Clearly, nurses and other staff are working hard to ensure that patient care is delivered. However, it is simply not sustainable to have staff stretched too thinly and working beyond breaking point.’

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