Hunts hospital staff still enjoy the work

IN spite of major changes in working arrangements being introduced as part of the rescue package for Hinchingbrooke Hospital, job satisfaction for staff was among the top 20 per cent of acute hospital trusts last year. But nearly half of the staff surveye

IN spite of major changes in working arrangements being introduced as part of the rescue package for Hinchingbrooke Hospital, job satisfaction for staff was among the top 20 per cent of acute hospital trusts last year.

But nearly half of the staff surveyed by the Healthcare Commission in its annual survey of every NHS trust in the country had witnessed a potentially harmful error, near-miss or incident in the month before the survey.

They were, however, among the most diligent in reporting such incidents.

Hinchingbrooke did relatively poorly on staff appraisals, harassment by colleagues and work pressure, but well on work-life balance, support from immediate managers, effective action from employers towards violence and harassment, availability of hand-washing materials - though slightly less well than when surveyed in 2006 - intention to move jobs, and reducing extra working hours.


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Most of the trust's scores were in the mid-range of responses, but bullying by colleague was in the bottom 20 per cent, and the level of error witnessing was among the worst in the country.

Hinchingbrooke was one of the best for error-reporting and - perhaps unsurprisingly in the circumstances - the level of work-related stress was straddling the top 20 per cent of acute trusts.

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The survey focused on key areas affecting staff at work in the NHS, including work-life balance, management and supervision, appraisal, training, learning and development, team working, communication, staff involvement, safety at work and staff attitudes.

The 46 per cent of staff who said that they had witnessed a potentially harmful error, near-miss or incident (compared to an average of 35 per cent) was actually an improvement since 2005.

A spokesman said: "Staff told us that they felt that the procedures for reporting were fair and effective, with 98 per cent of staff surveyed saying that they reported incidents, which is crucial in helping us to identify and tackle the problems.

"At 25 per cent, the level of staff reporting that they felt they had been harassed, bullied or abused by another member of staff in the previous 12 months is a worrying increase on the previous year, even though this is still average compared to other trusts."

Chief Executive Mark Millar said: "The annual staff survey is just one opportunity that staff have to feed back to us on what it is like to work at Hinchingbrooke. We also have mechanisms in place, such as regular team meetings and briefings where employees can ask questions and let us know what they think.

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