Norfolk and Waveney's NHS staff have their say in wide-ranging survey
PUBLISHED: 14:36 06 March 2018 | UPDATED: 14:43 06 March 2018
More staff in the county's NHS felt they could contribute towards improvements, but others saw their satisfaction at the quality of care they could give dip.
The up-to-date attitudes of Norfolk’s health service staff were revealed in an annual staff survey offered to all NHS employees nationally.
And the results, released today, showed it was a mixed bag for the six Norfolk organisations covered by the poll.
Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital
At the county’s busiest hospital, the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital (NNUH), 29pc of staff surveyed said communication between senior management and staff was good - up from 23pc the year before.
And both the percentage of staff experiencing harassment, bullying or abuse, as well as physical violence, had dropped.
Although the percentage of staff reporting recent harassment, bullying, or abuse was below the national average.
A total of 3500 NNUH staff responded to the 2017 national NHS staff survey which is about 50pc of employees.
Chief executive Mark Davies said: “The staff survey is really important to us as it provides a comprehensive picture of staff views of what it’s like to work at NNUH, and how we’re doing compared to recent years. Having well supported and motivated staff helps us to provide excellent care for our patients. This year’s results show we are making clear progress and the results are moving in the right direction.
“I would like to say a very big thank you to staff for the support they provide to patients and colleagues on a daily basis, which makes NNUH such a special place to work. Together we are committed to creating a supportive environment for all our teams and we will use these results to take that work forward.”
James Paget University Hospital
At Gorleston’s James Paget University Hospital (JPUH) there was a rise in management’s interest in staff health and wellbeing, and the trust had fewer staff feeling unwell due to work-related stress than nationally.
But staff also reported their satisfaction with their work had fallen from the year before and there were more staff at the JPUH than at other hospitals nationally who experienced physical violence from patients, relatives, or the public.
Chief executive Christine Allen said: “The survey is extremely useful in providing us with information which we can use to improve the working lives of staff – and so help provide even better care for patients.
“We are pleased to see that our staff rate the trust highly in areas including equal opportunities for career progression and management interest in staff health and well-being – and that we are still above the national average in relation to staff recommending the organisation as a place to work or receive treatment.
“However, there are areas where we can improve – and, as in previous years, we will be formulating an action plan, with staff involvement, to see how we can address these areas.”
Queen Elizabeth Hospital
In King’s Lynn, at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH), some 17pc of staff reported experiencing discrimination at work - up from 13pc the year before.
Karen Charman, human resources director said “The results of the survey have highlighted some areas of focus for us in addition to areas of encouragement such as colleagues feeling their work makes a difference to patients and the community and feeling motivated within their roles as part of team QEH. We will be working closely with our staff to offer support and overcome the negative issues identified.”
East of England Ambulance Trust
At the region’s ambulance trust - which covers six counties - staff felt the procedures for reporting errors, near misses, and incidents had improved, but felt less supported and recognised by management than other ambulance trusts nationally.
Lindsey Stafford-Scott, director of people and culture at EEAST, said: “Our staff and patients are at the centre of everything we do, which is why it is great to see some of the survey results reveal positive changes. We’re aware the outcomes only represent 34pc of staff, which is why we ensure we regularly engage with our staff, listen to them throughout the year and work together to drive forward our vision for the trust through our values.
“Ultimately, the 2017 results are very similar to 2016, which indicate that, even with an increasingly difficult performance and financially challenged environment, they are reasonably encouraging and show EEAST to be an organisation that is doing what it can to improve working conditions for staff and ultimately, improve patient care.”
Ms Stafford-Scott explained there is still work to do, with the survey showing that while the number of staff feeling unwell due to work-related stress had decreased, the number is still too high.
She said: “We care about our staff and the trust has established a wellbeing hub to provide our people with the support they need to ensure they are looking after themselves and feel they have the tools to do so.
“While we have also seen an increase in the perceived number of appraisals carried out (up 3pc on last year), this is still below the national average and so we are introducing a new system that we hope is easier to use and makes managers more accountable for their staff.”
Norfolk and Suffolk Foundation Trust
Although Norfolk and Suffolk Foundation Trust (NSFT) - the region’s mental health trust - had made improvements in carrying out staff appraisals, there were a number of indicators which had deteriorated including the quality of those appraisals.
Others included staff feeling they could make improvement, staff satisfaction with the level of care they could provide, and the effectiveness of reporting errors - all of which had worsened from the year before.
Staff also felt the use of patient feedback had deteriorated.
Julie Cave, interim chief executive said: “We are not going to sugar-coat the results. The report is very disappointing and concerning for our trust, but more importantly it demonstrates the pressures many of our staff feel they have been under while trying to do the best job they can for our service users and carers.
“The most recent survey was launched just as we received our CQC inspection results which placed us back into special measures and it has been incredibly hard for everyone who works so hard to do an excellent job to read about our trust in such negative terms. The last thing we want is for these results to demotivate our staff further, or demotivate those who feel more positive than this report might suggest.
“But we must be honest and openly discuss these results in order to start moving our trust into a more positive position for the future; making those positive changes lies in our hands, and together with our staff we need to change our culture.
“We know we can improve the situation as we have so done before; in our previous survey in 2016 we saw real improvements in how our staff felt about working for our trust. In fact, our staff engagement score was six times the national rate of improvement, year on year.
“Sadly, we did not fully embed the improvements we made in order to affect staff morale in the longer term. That is not good for any of us; it has to change, and it will.
Norfolk Community Health and Care
At Norfolk Community Health and Care, the relationship staff had with management was highlighted - staff felt their support from managers had improved, as well as the recognition they received.
Chief executive, Roisin Fallon-Williams said: “I’m really delighted to say that this year is a very positive change. There were twelve areas of statistically significant change compared against last year and these changes were all positive. They include key engagement and management themes and our staff engagement score increased significantly.
“This is really encouraging progress, and much of this is down to NCHC staff getting involved with and caring about the initiatives we have started in order to put things right that they tell us about in the NHS staff survey. We do recognise there is more to do and we will be looking to address any areas for concern to ensure that our staff and patients have the right level of support in place.”