Staff morale under pressure at Cumbrian hospitals
Published at 14:00, Friday, 08 March 2013
Staff morale is “under pressure” in all areas of the NHS in north Cumbria – and union leaders insist action must be taken.
Annual NHS staff survey results have been published, revealing how staff working for both hospital and mental health trusts feel.
Many of those working at both Cumbria Partnership NHS Foundation Trust and at North Cumbria University Hospitals Trust said they would not recommend their place of work to either patients or prospective employees.
The revelation comes following a damning review into child and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS) in Cumbria last year.
Commissioned by the partnership trust itself, the report found that children were being failed by the trust, which had poor management and too few staff working too many hours.
The 2012 NHS survey results show that many staff believe excessive work pressures are a problem across all areas of mental health, and 77 per cent of staff say they work extra hours – up from 68 per cent last year and eight per cent higher than the national average.
Estephanie Dunn, operational manager for the Royal College of Nursing in Cumbria, said: “It is obviously a concern if a number of frontline NHS staff at Cumbria Partnership believe that managerial support at the trust is inadequate, and that is one possible conclusion that we can draw from this staff survey.
“It also appears staff believe excessive work pressures can be a problem at the trust and, according to the survey, the trust is also performing below the average when it comes to the number of staff working extra hours. A tired workforce that is having to cope with excessive work pressures is not a recipe for high quality, sustainable healthcare.”
She said it was vital that managers start listening to concerns.
The partnership trust, however, said it was committed to improving results.
A spokeswoman said: “We welcome the NHS Survey as it is an excellent way to get staff feedback and to highlight areas where the trust can improve.
“In the scores for staff recommending the trust as a place to work or receive treatment the score was higher in 2012 than 2011 (up from 3.29 to 3.40 out of 5.0) and was only slightly lower than the national average for similar trusts (3.54 out of 5.0).
“Our trust was in the top 20 per cent of trusts for staff agreeing that their work makes a difference to patients.
“We are pleased that the survey showed improvements in staff job satisfaction, and higher scores than the national average for similar trusts for staff motivation.”
Results for the hospitals trust, which runs West Cumberland Hospital in Whitehaven and the Cumberland Infirmary in Carlisle, were even worse.
Overall its survey results placed it in the bottom 20 per cent of hospital trusts in the country, with issues such as the number of staff members who admit to witnessing “potentially harmful errors, near misses or incidents in the last month” – 38 per cent – and an increasing number of staff suffering work-related stress, up to 43 per cent from 32 per cent.
The trust also performed poorly in communication with senior staff, incidents of bullying and harassment by both staff and patients and the fairness and effectiveness of incident reporting procedures.
Damian Gallagher, director of human resources and organisational development, said: “We recognise this has been another challenging year.
“We will be looking in detail at the findings and are fully committed to addressing the concerns of staff.”
Reflecting on the picture of health services across north Cumbria, Ms Dunn said: “We have already seen that staff morale has been damaged by historic quality and funding problems at North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust.
“What this survey suggests is that staff morale is under pressure across both our community and mental health services too.
“We need to ensure all NHS services in Cumbria are fit for purpose. This survey shows management in clear terms exactly where the challenges are.
“They now need to deliver change for the better, for all the patients of Cumbria. And that means securing sufficient resources to secure a high quality service, and getting a high quality management team in place that is able to support the standards that we all have a right to expect.”
Ms Dunn added, however, that individual staff members are trying their hardest to provide the best possible care to patients.
Carlisle MP John Stevenson said “It is down to the management to ensure we have the health service we deserve.”
Published by http://www.cumberlandnews.co.uk
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