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NHS staff report morale boost but there are still concerns over staffing levels

PUBLISHED: 08:57 20 February 2020 | UPDATED: 08:57 20 February 2020

The Queen Elizabeth Hospital in King's Lynn has received £610,000 worth of funding for a new digital prescription service. Photo: Ian Burt

The Queen Elizabeth Hospital in King's Lynn has received £610,000 worth of funding for a new digital prescription service. Photo: Ian Burt

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Concerns over bullying across the region’s NHS staff have again been highlighted - just a month after the deaths of three ambulance staff prompted a major investigation into the trust’s culture.

Anna Hills, chief executive of James Paget University Hospital. Picture: James Paget University Hospital.Anna Hills, chief executive of James Paget University Hospital. Picture: James Paget University Hospital.

Thousands of health staff have given their views in the latest NHS staff survey which showed a mixed bag of results for Norfolk's health trusts and hospitals.

Norfolk and Suffolk Foundation Trust ranked the worst in the country for work-related stress with nearly half of responses saying they felt that way.

It also rated poorly with 14.8pc for the harassment, bullying or abuse at work from managers.

Other areas which saw the trust rated among the worst in the country for mental health trusts included the number of staff looking to leave in the next 12 months and errors or near misses for patients.

Caroline Shaw, the new Queen Elizabeth Hospital NHS Foundation Trust chief executive. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYCaroline Shaw, the new Queen Elizabeth Hospital NHS Foundation Trust chief executive. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

An NSFT spokesman said: "We fully recognise the issues that our staff have raised and are actively working with them to address these concerns.

"One of our areas of focus will be on health and wellbeing and the support staff receive from their immediate managers. The management and leadership of the trust has been completely restructured with the final stage being completed from March this year."

They added that NSFT was ranked as most improved when comparing to other mental health trusts on leadership and culture.

The East of England Ambulance Service, which covers six counties, saw bullying once again highlighted - just a month after the deaths of three staff members prompted a major investigation into the trust's culture.

Health secretary Matt Hancock Photo: PAHealth secretary Matt Hancock Photo: PA

There was various degrees of improvements at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH), James Paget University Hospital (JPUH) and Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital (NNUH) in relation to staff morale.

When asked if there was enough staff all Norfolk hospitals fell under the national average of 30pc, with 25pc (QEH) 26.5pc (NNUH) and 28pc (JPUH).

The QEH saw a nearly eight per cent increase from 2018 for effective communication between staff and senior management.

Caroline Shaw CBE, chief executive of the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in King's Lynn said: "Happy staff means we have fantastic patient care."

Caroline Shaw, the new Queen Elizabeth Hospital NHS Foundation Trust chief executive. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYCaroline Shaw, the new Queen Elizabeth Hospital NHS Foundation Trust chief executive. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

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Mrs Shaw said vacancy numbers had declined since 2018 with a nursing vacancy now at 5.2pc in comparison to nearly 13pc last year.

Mrs Shaw said: "We know because of the location of our hospital the challenge to recruit staff to this side of the country. We have to make a good reason for them to stay.

"Retaining our staff is very important."

At JPUH, the hospital was on par with most national results, showing above average as 67.9pc of staff would recommend treatment at the hospital.

Anna Hills, hospital chief executive, said: "We're really pleased that this latest survey shows a high percentage of staff would recommend the James Paget as a great place to work, and that above average numbers of staff say if a relative or friend needed treatment they would be happy with the standard of care provided.

"This is largely down to how our staff welcome and support colleagues, and treat our patients, and is a tribute to teamwork across the trust."

The chief executive said there were always area of improvement as the hospital was among the worst for work-related stress in the country, with 44.8pc of participants.

Mrs Hill said: "Many things feed into work-related stress and, at a time when increased demand and workforce strength are key national issues for the NHS, we recognise that we need to do all we can to support our staff and boost recruitment.

"We are already engaging with our staff - and, together, we are developing a rolling programme of projects to make our organisation an even better place to work."

At Norfolk's busiest hospital, 61.9pc of NNUH staff would recommend friends and family for treatment, slightly below the 62.5pc average - but the hospital's highest result since 2015.

Paul Jones, chief people officer at NNUH, said: "These latest results give us much cause for optimism but we want to continue to improve the experience of all our staff."

Matt Hancock wrote to staff following his reappointment as the minister for health and social care to highlight his horror at the level of staff that had faced physical or verbal abuse.

Across the country 15 per cent of NHS staff had been physically abused by a member of the public or patient.

Mr Hancock wrote: "We will not tolerate assaults, physical or verbal, against NHS colleagues staff or volunteers.

"You should not tolerate violence or abuse either. Being assaulted or abused is not part of your job."


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