NHS Staff Survey: More than half of Norfolk NHS staff working extra hours as results are a mixed bag for trusts

PUBLISHED: 12:03 28 February 2019 | UPDATED: 12:06 28 February 2019

File photo  of the NHS logo. Photo: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire

File photo of the NHS logo. Photo: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire


More than half of NHS staff in Norfolk are working extra hours to help prop up the health service, it can be revealed.

The data was released as part of the NHS Staff Survey, an annual questionnaire filled out by staff which ranges from topics of recommending trusts as places to work, to how often they witness mistakes or near misses.

Released on Tuesday, some of Norfolk’s healthcare organisations scored well with their frontline staff while others took a battering in results compared to last year.

At every trust more than 60pc of staff who filled in the survey said they worked extra hours.

The highest number was at the East of England Ambulance Trust (EEAST) where 86pc of staff said they had worked extra, while the lowest proportion was 69pc of staff at the James Paget University Hospital in Gorleston (JPUH).

The NHS survey co-ordination centre compares this year’s data to last year’s, and points out whether in their definition there had been a significant increase, decrease, or no significant change for 32 key areas.

James Paget University Hospital

While the JPUH had seen an increase in the number of staff suffering with work-related stress, there had been a significant decrease in the number of employees experiencing discrimination.

However it was the worst among comparable hospitals for staff suffering violence.

A JPUH spokesman said the trust was organising monthly health and well-being events for staff, introducing them to a variety of activities and ways of combating stress. But credited an equality, diversity and inclusion group with representatives from across the trust as a reason for improvement.

The spokesman said: “The trust will not tolerate any abuse or harassment of its staff and will take appropriate action against those responsible. Staff are regularly reminded of the methods for reporting such behaviour – and are also required to complete training in conflict resolution techniques, to help them manage situations with potentially abusive patients or visitors.”

Chief executive Anna Hills added: “The annual staff survey provides us with important information which allows us to compare ourselves against national averages as well as our own data from previous years.

“In the latest survey, the majority of our scores have either improved or remained the same, in comparison to last year; however, there are areas where our scores have deteriorated and/or are below the national average comparator.

“Once again, our staff have said that we perform strongly when it comes to caring for patients – which echoes what the Care Quality Commission found when they rated us as good at the most recent inspection.

“And we remain well above the national average when it comes to the percentage of staff saying that they would by happy with the standard of care provided by the organisation if a friend or relative needed treatment.

“However, the survey shows clearly that, as an organisation, there is more we can do to support staff.

“We will now work with our staff to identify areas where we can continue to improve our organisation, for the benefit of our staff who are so committed to providing high quality patient care.”

Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital

Jeremy Over, director of workforce at NNUH, said the results showed an improvement over five years in staff recommending the trust as a place to work. But he added: “We know we have more work to do to create a supportive environment for all our teams.”

The survey found more staff felt recognised and valued by managers than last year.

However there was a significant drop in the percentage of staff who felt satisfied with the quality of care they were able to deliver, who felt they made a difference to patients, and who were satisfied with resourcing and support.

Work-related stress had risen, and there was an increase in the numbers of staff who went to work despite feeling unwell because they felt pressurised to.

There had also been a drop in staff feeling the trust cared about their health and wellbeing, and in the effective use of patient feedback.

A NNUH spokesman said the trust’s leading with pride programme had helped improve the support managers gave to staff, as well as investment in the HR department.

But he said demand increasing could have led to staff’s unhappiness. He said: “A number of projects have been launched over the past few months to increase capacity and we are working on further developments to help ease pressure on our staff.”

He also said a “dedicated staff health and wellbeing team” was in place to support staff who were off sick, which had been expanded in the last year.

He said: “The occupational health team advise managers on the importance of undertaking stress risk assessments as part of the return to work plans which are then reviewed as part of the return to work programme. In the last nine months a new dedicated training session has been provided by the occupational health team for line managers to help educate the importance of managing workers mental wellbeing.”

Mr Over added: “I would like to thank all of the 3,517 staff who took the time to respond to the 2018 NHS Staff Survey. We welcome these latest staff survey results, which will be analysed over the coming weeks and will help us to identify which areas need extra support and areas where we can share best practice.”

Queen Elizabeth Hospital

Chief executive at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in King’s Lynn, Caroline Shaw, said she was “really disappointed” with the hospital’s staff survey results, where fewer staff recommended it than the year before.

The QEH was the only Norfolk hospital where there had been a significant decrease in the number of staff recommending it as a place to work or receive treatment.

Staff were also less motivated, felt less able to make a difference, and were less satisfied with the quality of their work.

Fewer staff felt there was good communication with senior managers, and there was also a drop in the number of employee who felt they could contribute towards improvements.

More staff were witness harmful errors, near misses, or incidents, but fewer felt there was fairness and effectiveness in the reporting procedures surrounding these.

And there was a significant decrease in staff confidence and security in reporting them.

A QEH spokesman said: “As part of our engagement agenda, we have undertaken a patient safety campaign, which has widely raised cognisance of patient safety within the trust, and specifically highlighted risk awareness, and also provided an opportunity to share learning. In addition, since the NHS Staff Survey, the trust has introduced safety huddles in all wards, which generates a daily discussion among staff and patients and potential risks. The trust is continually reviewing and evaluating how to improve on patient safety.”

Mrs Shaw said: “We are really disappointed with the latest results of the staff survey.

“We are listening to what staff are telling us, not just through the results of this survey but also at the recent briefing sessions. It is important to myself, and the rest of the executive team, that we keep this conversation going to help bring about the improvements needed.

“The survey also highlights a number of positive areas within the trust such as the care and support many staff members receive from their immediate line manager along with how they feel that they are making a difference to patients.

“Recruitment is an important challenge facing the trust so it is vital that we do everything we can to ensure that we retain, and look after, the staff who are already doing a brilliant job across the hospital.

“While there is a long way to go, we have taken steps towards this with the launch of a health and wellbeing initiative and our staff recognition awards.

“The hospital is incredibly lucky to have the passionate support of the west Norfolk community and I would like to encourage patients and their loved ones to nominate a staff member who has made a difference to their lives for one of these awards.”

Chairman of the Joint Staff Consultative Committee, Darren Barber, added: “A number of changes have happened since the staff survey took place and we hope these will have a positive impact on the hospital.

“Staff are feeling more involved in what is happening and we are looking forward to working closely with the new leadership going forward.

“No-one can doubt the commitment of staff to this hospital and that was recognised by the CQC and the wider community.”

Norfolk and Suffolk Foundation Trust

At the region’s struggling mental health trust, the organisation was the worst out of all mental health trust’s on staff feeling recognised and valued by managers.

But this had improved since last year, and staff were happier this year with resourcing and support in general.

Fewer staff had gone to work while sick due to pressure, but there had been an increase in the reporting of potentially harmful errors, near misses, or incidents.

Staff also felt there was an increase in the use of patient feedback.

Stuart Richardson, chief operating officer at NSFT, said: “As we expected, the results for our trust show a similar picture to our most recent CQC report, which was published in November last year.

“While we’ve made some very small improvements in a number of areas since the last staff survey, these still aren’t good enough and our performance hasn’t really changed much in other aspects. The results show just how far we have to go.

“We are committed to challenging tradition and embracing new ways of working, and look forward to doing this together with our staff, service users and carers.

“In addition, we’re really excited about our new relationship with the East London NHS Foundation NHS Trust and the opportunities and possibilities this brings.

“We truly believe that a workforce that feels valued and supported by its employer is better placed to provide better care for our service users and carers. The next 12 months will bring positive change and we look forward to listening and improving together.”

East of England Ambulance Trust

The East of England Ambulance Trust (EEAST) was the only other trust covering Norfolk where there was a significant drop in the number of staff recommending it as a place to work or get treatment.

Motivation had dropped, as had the number of staff happy with their level of responsibility and involvement.

More staff were feeling unwell due to work-related stress, and fewer felt they were able to contribute towards improvements.

More than 50pc of staff said they “often think” about leaving the trust – compared to an average of 38.9pc in other ambulance services.

And fewer than 15pc of staff thought there were enough staff at the trust to enable them to carry out their roles. This compares to 17.8pc of staff in 2017.

When compared to other ambulance trusts EEAST was ranked as the worst for health and wellbeing, morale, immediate managers, bullying and harassment, safety culture, and staff engagement.

However it was the best ambulance service for working in a safe environment.

Norman Lamb, Liberal Democrat MP for North Norfolk, has campaigned for improvements at the trust.

He said: “These worrying statistics provide further evidence that the culture at the Trust needs to change. I hope that the East of England Ambulance Service NHS Trust is treating these results with the importance they deserve.

“It’s totally unacceptable for any staff to work in an atmosphere of bullying and harassment. That sort of behaviour should not be tolerated under any circumstance, particularly a health trust.”

Dorothy Hosein, interim EEAST chief executive, said: “I would like to thank everyone who took the time to complete the survey. It is really important staff have their say so we can hear their views on areas where we need to make improvements.

“Overall the results are very similar to 2017, and I am disappointed we have not seen more improvement.

“I take bullying and harassment very seriously and it will not be tolerated within our trust.

“I would encourage staff to continue reporting any incidents, while I work with our Freedom to Speak Up (FTSU) champions to raise issues and ensure they are addressed. We have a leadership charter and are training and developing our managers, so all staff get the support they need.

“Working in healthcare is incredibly rewarding, but the lifesaving work we do can also be difficult at times. This is why we have a dedicated health and wellbeing team and provide spaces where people can take time out if they need to. These spaces will also be enhanced as part of our new estates plan.

“Staff can access a range of services both through the wellbeing team and through the employee assistance programme. We’re very fortunate to have trauma risk management (TRiM) practitioners who help colleagues through trauma management, which can be a factor of stress-related absence. We have been signed up to Mind’s blue light programme for three years, which our staff have access to.

“I have extended an invitation to anyone who is thinking about leaving to meet with me because retaining good people is absolutely key to our improvement.

“Recruiting and retaining staff is our top priority and we have introduced a number of initiatives, including establishing regional recruitment plans and launching the clinical career pathway. This pathway provides staff with the ability, training and support they need to develop their clinical skills. This makes sure they have opportunities to grow and develop, and ensure we have the staff numbers needed to deliver high quality patient care.”

Norfolk Community Health and Care

The outstanding-rated NCHC was the only organisation where more staff recommended it as a place to work or be treated than last year.

There was a decrease in the number of staff who felt their role was making a difference but more staff felt valued, there was better communication, and staff were even happier with levels of resourcing and support.

Discrimination and the number of staff experiencing violence had also dropped, as had harrassment and bullying.

Chief executive Josie Spencer said “It is fantastic news more staff took part in the survey this year and told us about their experiences. The latest staff survey shows positive increases in the majority of themes and no change in the rest which demonstrates another year of continuous improvement at NCHC.

“I am already proud of our outstanding trust. However, being outstanding doesn’t mean we’re perfect. We are always keen to find out where we can develop and the staff survey is a very useful tool to highlight areas where we need to improve.

“Overall the results have highlighted positive progress despite a challenging context, nationally and locally. The focus moving forward will need to be to continue to build on progress already made, but to increase the pace in some areas.

“It is thanks to the dedication and commitment of our teams across Norfolk and Suffolk that we continue to provide outstanding care at the heart of our local communities.”

To see the full results click here.

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