Weekend Diagnosis: Survey is always an important measure of staff morale

Published: 2 March 2016

Mairead McAlindenThis Weekend Diagnosis is from Mairead McAlinden, our Chief Executive

Each year NHS staff are asked to rate their workplace. The staff survey is completely anonymous and takes place across the country.

It is a chance for staff to have a particular say on how rewarding they find their job, their role and responsibilities, the difference they feel they can make to the people they care for and their personal development.

It is also an opportunity for them to comment on how well the organisation supports their health and wellbeing, along with what opportunities they have to engage in decision-making and the improvement of services.

The results from our 2015 survey were published last week and around 3,000 members of staff, almost 50 per cent of the workforce, took part in this year’s survey.

The survey is always an important measure of staff morale and wellbeing and I genuinely believe having a contented workforce, who feel well supported by the trust and have good job satisfaction, results in better health and social care services for the people we serve.

This year the survey felt more important than ever. You will know from my other columns in October last year the two local trusts merged to create one single, integrated care organisation, running nine community hospitals, Torbay Hospital and a range of community health and adult social care services.

This is a time of significant change, and staff naturally feel concerned about what this change will mean for them, so I am particularly heartened to know our staff continue to rate the new trust very highly as a place to work and receive treatment.

The trust also rates as better or on a par with other NHS organisations in 28 out of the 32 survey areas.

This included the low number of staff suffering with work related stress, the opportunity to have flexible working patterns and the organisation’s interest in and action on health and wellbeing.

Although the report is very positive overall, it does highlight some areas for improvement.

One is how confident our staff feel about raising concerns. The trust is already tackling the need to improve, and last month we appointed nine ‘freedom to speak up guardians’ from across our workforce to help support staff who have concerns.

We are the first trust in the south west to appoint these posts and we have also been running an internal campaign called ‘see something, say something’ to encourage staff to report concerns and to assure them that they will be safe and supported to do so.

Over the coming weeks we will agree a detailed action plan to respond to the survey findings. It will focus on improving those areas where our staff are saying we could do better, and keep us ahead of the rest in the areas where we do well.

We have more than 6,000 members of staff and I am incredibly proud of their dedication, professionalism and commitment.