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Survey shows good news and ways to improve for NHS

12:00am | & Health

RESULTS of the latest NHS annual staff survey, published this week, demonstrate strong positive trends while also highlighting some areas for continued improvement.

The 2018 Staff Survey of NHS Trusts and Foundation Trusts shows more than seven-in-ten staff would recommend their particular NHS organisation to family and friends for treatment – a proportion that has increased every year for the past four years. Increasing numbers of staff would also recommend their own organisation as a place to work.

According to the survey results, almost three-quarters of staff (74%) feel enthusiastic about their job – a 6% rise on the 2014 figure – and more than four-fifths (81%) are satisfied with the quality of care they give to patients. Although fewer NHS staff now report experiencing physical violence from patients, patients’ relatives or members of the public, this drop has only been a small one, from 15.4% to 14.5%, and work is continuing to address this worrying situation.

Among areas of concern highlighted by the survey is that just under one-in-five staff report having personally experienced harassment, bullying or abuse at work from other colleagues, an increase from 18% to 19.1%. However, more staff were satisfied with the recognition they received for good work (an increase of 3.7%) and more than seven-in-ten agreed they receive the respect they deserve from work colleagues and their manager.

Another ongoing area of concern is that less than a third (32%) of respondents felt there were enough staff in their organisation for them to do their job properly, although that number is rising and now the highest it has been in the past five years, suggesting recent recruitment drives may be starting to take effect.

The NHS is also improving its safety culture, with increasing numbers of staff reporting that their organisation takes appropriate action following errors, incidents or near misses to ensure they don’t happen again, and that staff are given feedback about changes made in response to those errors.

A new question in this year’s survey concerned staff who might be thinking about leaving the NHS. Responses show that while some staff are considering moving around the NHS, just 4% want to leave the NHS for another healthcare job outside it, while 8% are thinking about a career change. The 2018 survey, covering 304 NHS organisations, brought in 497,000 responses, up by 10,000 on the previous year. It was the biggest response in the 16 years the annual survey has been running.

It is produced to help NHS Trusts and Commissioners understand how their staff feel about a wide range of issues, and to make changes accordingly. The Care Quality Commission will also use the results to help ensure safety and quality standards are being met, while NHS Improvement uses the results to identify and target help on individual Trusts which are flagged up as experiencing problems. NHS England also runs a number of programmes to address issues at national level.

Neil Churchill, Director of Patient experience at NHS England, said: “NHS staff regularly go the extra mile for their patients and colleagues to deliver the best possible care, but it is equally important that local NHS Trusts and Foundation Trusts are doing all they can to support our fantastic staff.

“Whilst there are a number of positives in this year’s survey, it is also clear that local employers can do more to improve and we would expect all trusts to listen to the results from their staff survey and take appropriate action.”

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